EU urges UK to drop Brexit rhetoric in Northern Ireland | Brexit

The EU urged the UK to drop “political rhetoric” in the row of Brexit talks for Northern Ireland, revealing it would do what it described as “far reaching proposals” to break the deadlock next week.

European Commission Vice-President MaroÅ¡ Å efčovič told a conference in Dublin that he has good relations with UK Brexit Minister David Frost, but that his threats to unplug Ireland’s protocol from North were “not helpful”.

He confirmed that the EU would finalize its response to UK demands that the protocol be substantially rewritten by “the middle of next week” and then enter into intense talks to try to find a solution. “I think the package of practical solutions that we are putting on the table would be attractive… and hopefully supported by the majority of stakeholders in Northern Ireland.

He also said he hoped it would meet the interests of Unionist parties who vehemently oppose the protocol.

What the EU was trying to come up with were “the best solutions, which will address the concerns of the Unionist community,” efčovič said during the webinar at the Irish Institute of International and European Affairs. But he warned that the EU was not going to renegotiate the entire protocol just because the UK asked for it.

The protocol was the most difficult part of the withdrawal agreement to negotiate and involved “the best minds” on both sides for several years to find a solution to the problems caused by Brexit in Northern Ireland. The EU would not negotiate the protocol “as the UK requests”, he said.

The commission worked on counter-proposals to Lord Frost’s order document in July over the past month. Although Å efčovič declined to give details, they are expected to address UK concerns over food controls crossing the Irish Sea and barriers to drug supply between Britain and Northern Ireland .

However, it is unlikely to give in to union demands for the role of the European Court of Justice to disappear. “I would say [they are] very ambitious proposals and I sincerely hope that they will be seen as such by our UK counterparts and that they will engage constructively in our discussion, because I think we have to somehow move forward [away] political rhetoric, threats, ”Šefčovič said.

“You’re trying to do your best and what you hear from the other side is ‘it’s not good enough’… those threats certainly aren’t helping.”

Šefčovič said the bloc would use all treaty options to protect EU interests, but there would be no hard border if the UK decided not to apply the protocol.

Earlier this week, Frost said he would review the EU’s proposals in good faith, but would only give talks three weeks before deciding whether or not to trigger Article 16, the mechanism for deregulating. parts of the protocol.

He warned the UK would act “robustly” if the EU launched a retaliatory trade war if talks failed during the Article 16 process.

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