EU weary of Brexit deal with yet another UK PM’ with Truss challenged

EU 'wants reliability' as UK changes PM again says expert

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The European Union is growing tired of having to negotiate Brexit deals and hammering out its remaining issues with successive British Pime Ministers, a political analyst said. In the last four years, Britain has seen three different Prime Ministers trying to solve the problems created by Brexit – and each facing a different set of issues. Given the growing Tory rebellion, the EU is doubtful about whether Liz Truss will have enough time to fix the Northern Ireland Protocol issue.

Simon Usherwood, political analyst at The Open University, told “For the EU, there’s the concern about making deals with another Prime Minister yet again who might not be around for very long. 

“Why should you make concessions to Liz Truss if in six months’ time, she’s on her way out?

“We had the same with Boris Johnson, and I think we’re seeing the same with Liz Truss.”

Simon Usherwood continued: “I think what the EU will want is to not just more words but it will also want some substance, some reliability that this isn’t just this month’s Prime Minister or this year’s Prime Minister but this is long-term British policy. 

“Because I think Liz Truss has been very baddly damaged between the two sides. 

“And it will take a long time to get to a position where the EU feels confident about making deals with a government that has in recent years had trouble in following through on its legal obligation.”

After Theresa May resigned over her three failed Brexit deals and Boris Johnson got the withdrawal agreement through Parliament, Liz Truss now faces the harduous task of resolving the remaining issues – notably the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The issue came back on top of the agenda in May when the DUP refused to form a coalition with Sinn Fein over the Irish Sea border. In its current form, the protocol establishes a checks between the Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

But the DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said his party would not agree to power-sharing as long as the checks were in place, citing the cost-of-living crisis as the main reason for scrapping them. To solve the issue, Liz Truss – the then Foreign Secretary under Boris Johnson’s Government – put forward the idea of abolishing the border checks with the protocol bill.

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The move stoked up tensions with the EU who said Britain was flouting the protocol negotiated in 2020 and aimed at protecting the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. The two sides then agreed to put up an invisible trade border in the Irish Sea to avoid a border between the two Irelands, which would destabilise peace in the region.

If Liz Truss were to move forward with her bill, Britain would effectively put the EU’s Single Market in jeopardy in breach of its legal obligation. 

“We need to move on on this,” said the Northern Irish Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris ahead of new Brexit talks, adding he hopes “the Northern Ireland [Protocol] bill will be redundant.

“I want to be very positive about the chances of getting a negotiated solution.”

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