Brexit trade sausage row: How David Frost will try to budge EU on Northern Ireland deal
NI Protocol: Expert asks why Lord Frost signed off on deal
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Brexit has not panned out well for Boris Johnson’s Government so far, as his chief negotiator, Lord Frost, is locked in a battle with the EU over chilled meats. Officials have battled one another in a deceptively titled “sausage war” over disruptive checks required by the Northern Ireland protocol. The latest chapter in the war will take shape this week as the lead negotiator addresses diplomats in Lisbon.
What will Lord Frost say today?
The Northern Ireland protocol – which the current Government lauded as a solution to preventing a hard border with the Republic of Ireland – has broken relations between the UK and EU.
British officials, led by Lord Frost, have threatened to ignore parts of the deal, forcing the bloc to agree to an extension on chilled meat bans.
As a “third country”, Britain cannot export non-frozen chilled meats, such as mince or chicken nuggets, to nations that follow EU produce standards; Northern Ireland among them.
These meats are still passing between the UK and EU thanks to grace afforded by a temporary deal.
With relations in disarray, Lord Frost is searching for a way to pass British exports across the Irish Sea unimpeded.
The negotiator plans to use a forthcoming address to diplomats in Lisbon as a platform for his ideas.
A source close to him has revealed his approach is to change the protocol altogether by removing the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from its oversight role.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the source said he will start by calling on the EU to move away from “endless negotiation”.
He will then call for “fundamental changes” that go “far beyond the sausages issue.”
Lord Frost will hammer home the “seriousness of the situation” before pledging to work “from all sides of the political spectrum” to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland from undermining the peace process.
He will add: “The EU now needs to show ambition and willingness to tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol head-on.”
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“The UK-EU relationship is under strain, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
“By putting the protocol on a durable footing, we have the opportunity to move past the difficulties of the past year.”
Finally, he will claim the ECJ’s role, coupled with the UK’s lack of implementation rights, have created a “deep imbalance” in the protocol’s operation.
Officials across the Irish Sea do not share Lord Frost’s confidence that he can rectify the wrong-footed EU-UK relationship.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, has warned the increased demands around the protocol could cause a “breakdown in relations.”
Mr Coveney took to Twitter to say the EU is “working seriously” to resolve “practical issues” with implementation.
But, he added, British officials have created a “red line” which has railroaded progress.
He asked whether the Government truly wants to move forward or spark a “further breakdown in relations”.
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