Boris has no choice! German MEP breaks cover to take UK’s side in Brexit fight against EU

EU told to 'stop messing about on Brexit' by Hartley-Brewer

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Gunnar Beck, an AfD member of the European Parliament, claimed the Prime Minister has little choice but to continue to fight the EU in the dispute over Northern Ireland, arguing he inherited the Protocol issue from Theresa May and was pressured at the time to “get Brexit done”. Lashing out against Brussels’ intransigent position on the Protocol, the German politician told “The problem really is that the hard border that they want to avoid between Ireland and Northern Ireland is creating another hard border in the Irish Sea now.

“One cannot say the EU is breaking the Withdrawal Agreement in insisting of the strict observation of that agreement.

“On the other hand, I take the British Government’s position to be that they are not really saying that the agreement says anything other than what the EU is arguing.

“They’re saying that the agreement is simply not workable for Britain, so they’re looking for a workable solution.

“Now, that’s not quite an agreement with the agreement, but it’s a reasonable position.

“And I’d like to remind the EU that it has basically floated all its Treaty rules in relation to the euro, its fiscal rules, migration rules, there’s hardly an aspect of the EU Treaty which the EU has observed itself.

“So the EU has a habit of disregarding its own rules and when it comes to imposing them on others, where they think their rules are in accordance with their interests, they are absolutely inflexible.”

He added: “I think the UK’s position is not necessarily supported by the strict wording of the Withdrawal Agreement on Northern Ireland, but I think it’s a reasonable position.

“And I think the EU is very unreasonable insisting on the strict observance of the letter of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

The EU and the UK have been locking horns on the Protocol for months.

Brussels has threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it fails to implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit “divorce” settlement which Mr Johnson signed.

The prospect of a “sausage war” trade dispute came after Brexit minister Lord Frost refused to rule out the possibility that the UK could unilaterally delay imposing checks on British-made chilled meats which are due to come into force at the end of the month.

READ MORE: ‘Excessively burdensome!’ Boris Johnson bemoans EU’s approach to trade

The Protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European single market and customs union in order to avoid a hard border with Ireland, effectively creating a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods crossing from Great Britain.

Mr Johnson, who is holding talks with EU leaders over the course of the G7 summit, told the BBC on Friday: “You will understand that there are ways of enforcing the Protocol, ways of making it work, that may be excessively burdensome.

“I just give you one statistic: 20 percent of the checks conducted across the whole of the perimeter of the EU are now done in Northern Ireland, three times as many as happen in Rotterdam.”

The new post-Brexit arrangements came into effect on January 1 and the dispute is still simmering, but Mr Johnson insisted “I think we can sort it out”.

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US President Joe Biden, who has Irish ancestry, is taking a close interest in the dispute and has warned against anything that could destabilise the arrangements put in place by the Good Friday Agreement.

The Brexit dispute has inflamed tensions for unionists in Northern Ireland, who dislike barriers with Great Britain.

The White House has indicated Mr Biden has deep concerns about the situation – and Mr Johnson’s Government’s approach to it – but the Prime Minister played down the prospect of a rift.

“The president didn’t say anything of the kind,” he told the BBC following their talks on Thursday.

“But what I think you can certainly say … is that everybody – and that includes me, includes our friends in Brussels, it includes Washington – everybody has a massive interest in making sure that we keep the essential symmetry of the Good Friday Agreement, we keep the balance.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Prime Minister was able to explain that “we want a flexible, pragmatic approach” in his meeting with the US President.

“But for that to happen the EU must be less purist, more pragmatic and more flexible in the implementation of it. The ball is very much in the EU’s court in relation to that,” Mr Raab added.

“The bottom line for us is that the threat, the risk, to the Good Friday Agreement comes from the approach the EU has taken – a particularly purist approach.”

At a press conference ahead of the G7 summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insisted the Protocol is the “only solution” to prevent a hard border with the Republic and must be implemented in full.

She said: “We have shown flexibility, we will show flexibility, but the Protocol and the (Brexit) Withdrawal Agreement have to be implemented completely.”

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