Brexit: It is in UK's 'best interest to behave' says Barnier
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Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby said the UK’s issues with post-Brexit border fix were far wider and deeper than the bloc’s. The diplomat insisted the controversial arrangements to avoid a hard border would stand the test of time if the Good Friday peace agreement is upheld. Speaking at a EU-UK Forum event, Mr Croisdale-Appleby said: “I think that the challenge is to make sure that the Belfast Good Friday Agreement survives, frankly, and to make sure that the institutions in Northern Ireland stay strong.
“Providing the Northern Ireland Protocol continues or works in a way that supports that goal, then yes, absolutely I think it will survive.”
Whitehall officials have previously expressed concerns that Brussels is risking flare-ups in violence through its bureaucratic approach to the region.
Unionists have demonstrated against the post-Brexit trade rules because they have driven a wedge between the area and the rest of the UK.
Britain has called for red tape to be eased as a result of recent tensions in the Northern Ireland.
To keep the Irish border open, the area effectively remains part of the EU’s single market and some checks are now made on some products arriving from the rest of the UK.
Mr Croisdale-Appleby added: “It has provisions which point in very different directions, you’re right to point out that there are provisions around the kind of EU legislation that needs to be respected in Northern Ireland.
“But it’s also the case that there are very clear obligations to minimise the barriers East West, and to ensure that the integrity of the UK is protected.”
The European Commission has agreed to a range of concessions in order to end some of the checks, which Lord Frost has claimed have had a “chilling effect” on trade.
This includes a three-month delay to the introduction of an EU ban on British sausage being sold in the region.
Despite the warnings, eurocrats are still insisting on the full implantation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Today Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, warned that the bloc would pursue legal action against Britain if it refuses to enforce the customs controls.
He raised the prospect of a future trade conflict if an agreement cannot be found in the row over the customs controls.
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The European Commission vice-president said the biggest challenge to UK-EU relations is the lack of trust.
Speaking at an EU-UK Forum event, Mr Sefcovic said: “Trust is essential for any constructive relationship, but to build trust in each other as partners requires first working together cooperatively and refraining from surprises in the form of unilateral actions.
“Unfortunately, the unilateral measures the UK Government took in March contradicted this much-needed spirit of joint action and clearly violated what we agreed.
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“In response, we were forced to launch an infringement procedure and without satisfactory steps by the UK to remedy these measures, we’re going to have no choice but to step up these legal proceedings.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened to rip up the Northern Ireland Protocol unless an agreement to ease EU red tape is found.
Brussels is already suing Downing Street after it unilaterally scrapped a number of EU-ordered controls amid fears of supermarket shortages.
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