Brexit: Steve Barclay says government will ‘defend the UK’
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Exposing the country’s alleged bias towards the EU, former Brexit Party MEP Belinda de Lucy, claimed Brussels has been at fault for the treatment Northern Ireland has received. In a fierce attack against the EU, Ms de Lucy claimed Brussels had instituted a campaign of revenge against the UK over Brexit. Following foreign minister Simon Coveney’s criticism of the UK, the former MEP claimed the trust for the EU has not helped relations.
She said: “The EU just triggered the NI border to propel a political revenge agenda.
“Only when the world looked on in horror does the EU say whoops, mistake, reverse.
“I feel sorry for Ireland, not sure blind trust in the EU has helped it much.”
On Wednesday the UK took the move to extend the grace period for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Westminster made the decision to extend the period until October in order to help smooth trade post-Brexit.
During a meeting with the EU, Cabinet Office Michael Gove met with the vice-President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic and asked for the period to be extended until 2023.
This was rejected by the EU causing the UK to unilaterally extend the period on Wednesday.
The EU has accused the UK of breaking an international agreement while Mr Coveney claimed Britain was not a reliable partner.
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He claimed progress had been made between the two sides and insisted the timing of the move could not have been worse.
He told RTE: “This is not the first time this has happened, that they are negotiating with a partner that they simply cannot trust.
“That is why the EU is now looking at legal options and legal actions which effectively means a much more formalised and rigid negotiation process as opposed to a process of partnership where you try to solve problems together, so this is really unwelcome.
“It’s the British Government essentially breaking the protocol, breaking their own commitments again, and the EU having to then consider how they respond to that.”
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Despite his claim, Downing Street rejected the accusation the UK is an unreliable partner.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Obviously we wouldn’t accept that characterisation.
“We have worked closely with the EU throughout the Brexit period, not just in terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol but with regards to the TCA that we agreed at Christmas time.
“We continue to work closely with them through the Joint Committee process and remain committed to the Northern Ireland Protocol but we want to address those areas where there are issues that have arisen.”
The Government also restated its support for safeguarding peace in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement.
The UK has also claimed the measures taken are appropriate and within what was agreed in the Brexit deal between the two sides.
In support of the UK, DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson claimed the EU’s move to trigger Article 16 this year, had shown one side can take up unilateral action.
Although quickly revoked, the EU had threatened to utilise the legislation over the supply of vaccines moving from the EU to Great Britain via Northern Ireland.
He said: “Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the UK Government has the same power – to act unilaterally to protect the integrity of the UK internal market and trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”
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