‘Brexit deal is still not right’: Lord Frost will tell EU chiefs that more concessions are needed to break Northern Ireland deadlock
- British officials warned two sides are still ‘not on same page’ as they begin talks
- The minister will push EU counterpart to axe oversight of European judges in NI
- Pair will agree timetable for what are expected to be 3-4 weeks of intensive talks
- Health Secretary signalled the Government would continue to take tough stance
Lord Frost will tell the EU it needs to go further to resolve a clash over Northern Ireland as Brexit negotiations resume in Brussels.
British officials warned last night that the two sides are still ‘not on the same page’ as they begin talks.
The Brexit minister will push his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic to axe the oversight of European judges in Northern Ireland.
At a lunch at the European Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters the pair will agree a timetable for what are expected to be three to four weeks of intensive talks.
One possible compromise would see the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Northern Ireland restricted.
Lord Frost (pictured on Thursday) will tell the EU it needs to go further to resolve a clash over Northern Ireland as Brexit negotiations resume in Brussels
The Brexit minister will push his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic (above, at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday) to axe the oversight of European judges in Northern Ireland
…as Theresa’s adviser hails tough-talk tactic
Theresa May’s former Brexit adviser has said EU concessions show an ‘aggressive strategy’ is the ‘only one that works’ with Brussels.
In a major climbdown, the European Commission has offered to scrap most checks on British goods crossing to Northern Ireland.
The compromise comes after Boris Johnson threatened to take the nuclear option of suspending parts of the Brexit deal.
Raoul Ruparel tweeted that the EU’s plans were ‘definitely enough to start a negotiation over the coming weeks’, adding: ‘This will only further ingrain the view that the UK’s aggressive strategy is the only one that works with the EU…’
Disputes would be referred to an independent arbitration panel. The ECJ would be involved as a last resort only if this failed to resolve the matter.
But British government sources last night dampened expectations on whether such a solution would be acceptable.
And Health Secretary Sajid Javid signalled the Government would continue to take a tough stance as he insisted ministers have been clear that ‘one of the most important issues is to end the role of the ECJ in Northern Ireland’.
Irish premier Micheal Martin yesterday said the EU has made ‘very significant’ advances to resolve issues surrounding the Brexit deal.
In proposals published earlier this week, the European Commission offered to slash 80 per cent of regulatory checks and dramatically cut customs processes on British goods moving to Northern Ireland.
But DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson yesterday told Mr Sefcovic that proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol ‘fall short of what is needed’.
Meanwhile, ‘ferret wars’ replaced sausage skirmishes as the latest unlikely Brexit battleground, so named due to a dispute over the free movement of pets across the Irish Sea.
The EU’s latest concession on border checks does not cover cats, dogs or indeed ferrets – but Lord Frost wants British pets to move freely. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I would call this a ferret blockade. It is about time the EU performed a reverse ferret.’
A UK government spokesman last night said despite the concessions made by Brussels ‘it is clear there is still a substantial gap between our two positions’.
It came as French fishermen repeated threats to blockade the Channel – after the UK refused to issue permits for 35 trawlers to fish between six and 12 miles off the UK coast, where they could operate before Brexit.
Irish premier Micheal Martin (pictured in Dublin on Thursday) said the EU has made ‘very significant’ advances to resolve issues surrounding the Brexit deal