MAROS Sefcovic’s wide-ranging concessions in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol have made a “mockery” of Brussels’ insistence that the rules were “set in stone”, a pro-Brexit campaigner has said.
However, Jayne Adye, the director of Get Britain Out, has welcomed the European Commissioner’s apparent climbdown – while warning Brexit minister Lord David Frost he cannot afford to give an inch to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the weeks to come. Mr Sefcovic outlined his proposals in Brussels on Wednesday, which include reducing the number of customs checks by 50 percent, and an 80 percent cut on checks and regulations on all retail goods travelling into Northern Ireland.
However, crucially he dismissed calls by Lord Frost to remove the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in adjudicating disputes with respect to the Protocol, a mechanism for preventing a hard border on the Ireland of Ireland which critics say has instead resulted in a border down the Irish Sea.
Ms Adye told This website: “The concessions made tonight by Maros Sefcovic are very welcome to Brexiteers.
“However from the start, his comments now make a mockery of the claims made by the EU of the Protocol being set in stone!
“Clearly these could have been possible last time around, but the EU have always wanted to try and establish their control over Northern Ireland.”
The 80 percent reduction in required checks was undoubtedly a good offer from the EU – but as an independent nation – including Northern Ireland – there was no reason why the UK should be forced to conduct any checks on goods moving within its own borders, Ms Adye stressed.
She added: “It was clear from this speech the EU is trying to draw a dividing line within the United Kingdom.
“Why else would Maros Sefcovic be discussing Northern Ireland losing out on investment if it leaves the Single Market, other than trying to paint the UK Government as an enemy?
“Sowing this kind of division in an already fractious situation like Northern Ireland is simply irresponsible and frankly dangerous.”
With respect to the role of the EU’s top court, located in Luxembourg, Ms Adye said: “Until the European Court of Justice’s control over Northern Ireland is brought to an end, all of this is. “Brinkwire Summary News”.