Brexit: EU 'can no longer fund bailout schemes' says expert
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The former EU chief Brexit negotiator claimed the deal which he branded as a “divorce” created uncertainty among EU member states. Mr Barnier, speaking at an award ceremony in Dublin, made clear a lot of areas in the deal “were often underestimated and poorly explained” including fishing.
From the start of the talks in 2016 which lasted four years, he claimed the objective was to “restore certainty where divorce creates uncertainty”.
As Mr Barnier was virtually presented with the European Movement Ireland organisation’s European of the Year Award, he also said he was attentive to the “concerns voiced by all the different parties and communities of Ireland and Northern Ireland”.
It comes amid a row between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The DUP in Northern Ireland are pushing to scrap the mechanism, which has caused red tape on goods transported to the nation from the rest of the UK.
But Irish prime minister Micheal Martin said the stance of Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party was disappointing.
Speaking at the online ceremony this week held by the European Movement Ireland, Mr Barnier said: “We travelled several times to Ireland and Northern Ireland, we went to the border, we walked on the peace bridge in Derry/Londonderry.”
In a dig at London, he also said the “unity and solidarity between member states was visible at every step of our negotiations with the UK.”
The former EU chief negotiator, who is planning a return to frontline French politics, continued: “Contrary to what many predicted at the time of the 2016 Brexit referendum, Brexit did not trigger the end of the European Union, but the strengthening of its unity.
“Together, we can build a Europe that not only protects but also inspires.
“A Europe that continues to make us stronger together.
“There is no strength without unity.”
Mr Barnier is also expected to publish a 600-page “journal” in April talking about his experience of the Brexit negotiations.
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The diplomat’s comments come just days after Lord Frost was appointed a Minister of State in the Cabinet Office.
Lord Frost, who led the Brexit negotiations for the UK, will be a full member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and his appointment will take effect from 1 March 2021.
He will lead on co-ordinating relations with the EU institutions and the 27 member states.
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