“Is the EU about to have a second war on its northern flank?”
UK and EU head for heated confrontation – Liz Truss stands firm, Lord Frost supports
Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022
EU says “The UK has not met us halfway,” before adding “We will not renegotiate”
News from Brussels, London & Washington shows Ukraine soon may not be the only war in Europe
A Facts4EU analysis of three important developments yesterday
Yesterday in Brussels, London and Washington, events took place which look almost inevitably to lead to a major EU-UK conflict coming to a head next week, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss MP leading the British attack.
With Putin’s war raging on the EU’s eastern flank, all signs now point to a second front opening up next week on its northern flank.
Below Facts4EU.Org summarises what happened yesterday and provides key excerpts, for readers to get ahead of the game before everything erupts next week.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary
What happened in Brussels, London and Washington yesterday – and what it signals
- EU Commission’s Brexit man Sefcovic ups the temperature in provocative speech
- Lord Frost responds and rebuts EU’s claims with great force
- Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says UK Government has no choice but to act
- Conflict now seems inevitable, with UK-EU trade deal a probable casualty
1. What happened in Brussels?
The first meeting of the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly took place in Brussels yesterday. In this meeting EU Commissioner Sefcovic – in charge of EU-UK negotiations – was uncompromising.
“On our side, we have always sought practical and durable solutions to legitimate issues raised by people and businesses in Northern Ireland, all within the framework of the Protocol. Our UK counterparts have however not met us halfway.
“From the moment the Withdrawal Agreement was ratified, we have seen the first internal market bill, unilateral grace periods, the Command paper, and now, in all likelihood a second internal market bill. At the same time, the UK is yet to deliver on all its fundamental obligations under the Protocol… so that the EU can protect its single market”.
“…there has been no engagement at all on these issues from the UK the last couple of months. The UK has simply not taken the opportunity to explore fully with us the potential of the flexibilities the Commission has presented.
“Honesty about what the UK signed up is needed. Honesty about the fact that the EU cannot solve all the problems created by Brexit and the type of Brexit that the UK government chose. That is the reason for which the position of the EU has been consistent: we will not renegotiate the Protocol.”
- Statement by Maros Sefcovic, EU Commission, 12 May 2022
Here is a video of the event
2. Lord Frost, former Brexit Minister, was quick to rebut the EU’s accusations
Yesterday Lord David Frost gave an important speech to the Heritage Foundation of Washington DC. He also responded very quickly to the remarks of Maros Sefcovic. As the UK Minister who had to negotiate with the EU’s Brexit man, he is well-placed to do so.
“This video shows (as was sadly apparent while I was a Minister) that the EU simply has not engaged with or taken seriously the UK position.
“It is not true that there have been no UK proposals. In July we proposed a renegotiated Protocol. Even before that we made proposals for a trusted trader scheme and a veterinary agreement (despite the persistent belief that we have rejected this), and much else.
“The EU also has a full revised legal text from us from last autumn, based on the Command Paper. Maros Sefcovic never mentions it so maybe he has forgotten about it? The EU has had a series of papers from us reacting to their minimalist October proposals. However those proposals have never changed in any substantive way.
“Maros Sefcovic says that NI’s "access to" (he means de facto membership of) the single market for goods is threatened. The EU never seems to have understood that, at least under this Government, the UK has never wanted that, so threatening its loss is unlikely to cut much ice.
“NI is in the single market for goods because the EU insisted on it. They claimed the only way to keep the border open was to have the same laws on both sides of it and used this to close off discussion of any alternatives.
“We would rather see NI in our own single market, obviously, and the border managed in another way, eg as we proposed in the Command Paper. Anything else is a compromise, but one aimed at the EU's own sensibilities, to protect their single market, not ours.
“This persistent refusal to engage or grasp our thinking suggests that the EU has no intention of helping resolve the current difficulties except on their terms. Indeed that is what Maros Sefcovic seems to have told Liz Truss today. So HMG's only option is to act on its own.”
- Comments from Lord Frost, 12 May 2022
3. Liz Truss – “EU’s proposals would take us backwards”
In the third development yesterday, elected MP and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss held a telephone meeting with the EU Commission’s unelected Maros Sefcovic. This clearly did not go well.
“The Foreign Secretary outlined why EU proposals would take us backwards, by creating more checks and paperwork. Vice President Šefčovič confirmed that there was no room to expand the EU negotiating mandate or introduce new proposals to reduce the overall level of trade friction.
“The Foreign Secretary noted this with regret and said the situation in Northern Ireland is a matter of internal peace and security for the United Kingdom, and if the EU would not show the requisite flexibility to help solve those issues, then as a responsible government we would have no choice but to act.”
- Statement from the Foreign Office following Liz Truss’ call, 12 May 2022
Is the EU about to have a second war on its northern flank?
It seems increasingly clear to us that the EU is about to have a second war on its northern flank. Unlike the war on its eastern flank, this will not be caused by an outside aggressor like Putin. This one will be caused by the EU's obstinacy, intransigence, and insistence on finding any means possible to punish the British for having the temerity to leave its autocratic, undemocratic, and sclerotic union.
Also unlike the war in Ukraine, this likely war with its powerful northern neighbour will not involve indiscriminate bombing of civilians. Nevertheless, civilians may well be the casualties - in the UK as well as the EU - if the EU carries out its threat to suspend the EU-UK trade deal.
There have been many 'false dawns' in the difficult negotiations with the EU - and the UK Government's need to act to preserve the integrity of the United Kingdom and the need to protect the Belfast peace agreement.
Hostilities seem likely to break out next week
Now it seems highly likely that the EU is leaving the United Kingdom with no choice but to act unilaterally. The statement from the Foreign Office yesterday was bleak. All indications point to imminent steps being taken by the Government.
Yesterday at the Heritage Foundation's event in Washington DC, Lord Frost gave a very robust speech and answered questions from Dr Nile Gardiner. Facts4EU's Chairman was invited to attend and we hope to bring you the full video of this event in the coming days. Lord Frost's speech was quite something and we believe it deserves a wide audience.
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[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Parliament | Lord Frost Twitter feed | Foreign Office ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Fri 13 May 2022
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