Brexit: Lord Frost hits out at EU over Northern Ireland Protocol
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Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation which aims to tackle climate change, help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth. However, a recent report has revealed the UK has been left out of the scheme despite other non-EU countries being granted associate membership on Tuesday.
Non-EU countries Georgia, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia were all granted associate membership of Horizon Europe on Tuesday.
The Telegraph has reported the EU is preventing Britain from joining because it does not “trust” the British Government due to the ongoing row over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
A European Commission spokesman told The Telegraph: “The UK’s association to Horizon Europe and other EU programmes will be finalised in due course.
“This requires a level of trust that the attached conditions will be complied with.”
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The move comes as UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost has repeated threats to trigger Article 16 – a move which would suspend Northern Ireland trade rules.
However, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president, has stated a breakthrough in negotiations over medicine supplies to Northern Ireland could unlock the protocol talks in Brussels.
Lord Frost told Mr Sefcovic the UK would prefer not to trigger Article 16, which was welcomed by the European Commission vice-president.
“I welcome the change of tone in discussion,” Mr Sefcovic said after weeks of threats and counter-threats over the controversial clause.
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“I’m convinced that the issue of medicines could be a blueprint for how to approach and solve together the remaining outstanding issues.”
The Irish government has joined many world leaders urging the UK not to trigger the article and has warned the move will likely spark retaliation from the EU which could result in a trade war.
Ireland’s deputy leader Leo Varadkar said last month: “The message I’d send to Boris Johnson is that we have an agreement in relation to Northern Ireland, we have an agreement in relation to trade with the European Union – don’t jeopardise it.
“You were part of negotiating it, you own it, it was hard-won, it’s a mistake to think that by escalating tensions or by trying to withdraw from any part of it, that you’ll end up with a better deal: you won’t.”
Progress on rules restricting the flow of goods between the UK and Northern Ireland has been said to be disappointing but discussions on the issue were described as constructive.
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