Brexit: Nigel Farage and Vince Cable clash over referendum
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On Monday, the EU Commission published a series of proposals in an attempt to ease the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. However, the UK Government rejected the proposals and said there insufficient for the scale of the problems.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the two sides needed “comprehensive and durable solutions”.
He said: “We need comprehensive and durable solutions if we are to avoid further disruption to everyday lives in Northern Ireland.”
However, he said what the EU proposed represented “only a small subset of the many difficulties caused by the way the protocol is operating”.
The spokesperson continued: “The EU’s proposal was a welcome start but it would be complex to operate, onerous and would not deal at all with those medicines, such as new cancer drugs, which under current arrangements must be licensed by the European Medicines Agency in Northern Ireland.”
Brexit minister Lord Frost threatened to trigger Article 16 of the agreement unless there were major changes to the legal text of the protocol.
Last week, Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the EU “will not renegotiate” the withdrawal agreement the Prime Minister signed in December.
She said: “The EU will continue to be creative and flexible within the Protocol framework. But we will not renegotiate.
“We must jointly ensure stability and predictability in Northern Ireland.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol is designed to avoid customs checks along the Irish border.
To avoid a hard border, Northern Ireland effectively remains in the EU’s single market, with a number of controls on goods shipped from mainland Britain.
Last month, the two sides agreed on an extension to the amnesty on chilled meats moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
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This latest amnesty will now expire in September, with both sides continuing to negotiate on a long-term solution.
Trust was badly damaged in January when the EU moved to block the export of COVID-19 vaccines to Northern Ireland.
Tensions across Northern Ireland reached boiling point and the nation was rocked by street violence in April.
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8am update: Brexit fury: Switzerland provides warning to UK for ‘war of attrition’ with EU
Brexit tensions between the UK and EU could follow a similar route to the dispute between Brussels and Switzerland, an expert tells Express.co.uk.
Kevin Featherstone, an academic at the London School of Economics, points to Switzerland as an example of how grappling with the EU can last a long time.
He said: “I think what we have, at least for the medium term, we are going to have continued friction between the UK and the EU27.
“Why is that? It’s a direct consequence of us not being able to reach an overarching agreement that sets out all the substance and details.
“What we have is a pure outline agreement that can be interpreted differently.
“Because of that, it always meant Brexit would be a source of conflict between Brussels and London.”
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