Ireland’s Coveney called out for finger-pointing at UK in ‘breakdown’ of EU relations

David Frost: EU sometimes appears to 'not want' UK success

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The foreign minister has been critical of the UK for its negotiation tactics when it comes to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Reports emerged over the weekend suggesting the UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost was ready to make clear to EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic that removing the European Court of Justice’s oversight of the Protocol is a ‘red line’ for Downing Street.

Mr Coveney tweeted late on Saturday night: “EU working seriously to resolve practical issues with the implementation of Protocol – so UKG creates a new “red line” barrier to progress, that they know EU can’t move on. Are we surprised?

“Real Q: Does UKG actually want an agreed way forward or a further breakdown in relations?”

However, Mr Coveney has been criticised for these comments.

Owen Polley is an author and commentator based in Northern Ireland who has addressed the matter.

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Polley said: “Coveney and his boss, the Fine Gael leader and former taoiseach Leo Varadkar, have done more than most politicians to damage friendship between London and Dublin, undermine cooperation between the two parts of Ireland and destabilise the Belfast Agreement.”

The United Kingdom has been in discussion with the EU about the Northern Ireland Protocol – and hopes some of the aspects deemed most damaging would be removed.

To ensure this, Lord David Frost had threatened to trigger the “emergency break”, Article 16, which would allow the Government to suspend any parts of the deal deemed problematic.

Lord Frost declared that, if the European Union refused to accept the UK’s improved Northern Ireland protocol, then it would be a “historic misjudgement”.

But Lord Frost urged Brussels to back the deal to ensure that the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over Ulster would come to an end.

Lord Frost said: “It is not just about the court.

“It is about the system of which the court is the apex – the system which means the EU can make laws which apply in Northern Ireland without any kind of democratic scrutiny or discussion.”

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In response, the EU is set to table a plan which would allow any goods to travel without issues between the countries.

However, as part of this, it has said that it cannot relinquish the ECJ’s authority over Northern Ireland.

Mr Polley added: “Lord Frost is right to insist that any renegotiation must deal with the ECJ’s role in Northern Ireland and restore British sovereignty fully.

“Many people in the province were murdered because they defended its integral place in the Union. The constitutional repercussions of the Protocol are central to its failure.

“They are not some sort of technical or theoretical irrelevance that can be ignored in the name of pragmatism.”

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