In Brussels, the replacement of David Frost, former British Minister responsible for Brexit, is lived without illusions

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After his resignation from the post of Minister responsible for Brexit, Briton David Frost and his taste for provocation will certainly not be regretted in Brussels. But the departure of Lord Frost, who insisted on renegotiating the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom on the northern Irish border, will not by itself resolve this thorny issue. “The UK’s position has not changed”, thus assured, Tuesday, December 21, Liz Truss, British Minister for Foreign Affairs, now in charge of post-Brexit files. “The position of the EU is known”, for his part, recalled Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission. Namely: the agreement intended to avoid the return of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, negotiated and ratified by the United Kingdom itself, is not renegotiable.

If they both showed their determination to demine this land when the discussions, for the time being suspended, will resume in January 2022, these statements published in the wake of their first telephone interview bear witness to the gulf that still separates London and Brussels. Liz Truss expressed her wish “To accelerate the pace of discussions” and establish “A constructive relationship with the EU”. “Our preference remains to reach a concerted solution” about the northern Irish border, she insisted. Where appropriate, the new British negotiator, however, reiterated David Frost’s threats.

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Like her predecessor, she recalled on Wednesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government remained ” ready “ to partially suspend the Northern Irish Protocol, which establishes a customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. She also pleaded for ” end “ the role granted to the Court of Justice of the EU to hear disagreements related to the application of this agreement, which the European Union refuses.

Red line for the EU

“We need goods to move freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, underlined Mme Truss. However, under this protocol, the British province must remain aligned with the rules of the European internal market. Therefore, controls of goods entering from Great Britain must be carried out in its ports. Confronted with the supply difficulties of Northern Ireland, but above all with the political reality of this agreement that the Brexiters signed by pinching their noses, David Frost therefore demanded to renegotiate it, under penalty of activating the article. 16.

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In Brussels, the replacement of David Frost, former British Minister responsible for Brexit, is lived without illusions

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