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Monday, October 25, 2021

Lord Frost: EU at risk of making ‘historic misjudgment’ over protocol concessions

Brussels will be making a “historic misjudgment” if it fails to make fresh concessions on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Lord Frost will warn on Tuesday. 

In a speech in Lisbon, Portugal, the Brexit minister will urge the European Commission to bend its rules and accept that the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) involvement in the province must end.

Urging the bloc to focus on the bigger picture, Lord Frost will add that if two sides can finally break the deadlock they will be able to unite and refocus on the shared challenges confronting the West, including China and Russia.

“We would have a chance to move forward to a new, and better, equilibrium,” he will go on to say.

His intervention will kick-start a pivotal week in discussions between Brussels and London over the future of Northern Ireland, during which the UK will present draft legal texts setting out its alternative to the protocol.

Maros Sefcovic, Lord Frost’s EU counterpart, is also due to present four proposals on Wednesday that the bloc believes will provide lasting solutions to the disruption that the protocol has caused to trade from the British mainland.

They will cover the sale of British sausages and chilled meats in Northern Ireland, the supply of medicines, animal health rules, customs procedures and a stronger role for Northern Ireland’s institutions in managing protocol.

However, they are expected to fall short of the wholesale renegotiation the UK is demanding, including the ECJ’s jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, which remains due to the protocol requiring the province to continue to follow EU single market and customs rules.

The UK wants it replaced with an arbitration panel similar to the one agreed in the Brexit trade deal.

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