Ex-Brexit chief David Davis says it could take TEN YEARS to sort out border row as EU’s Maros Sefcovic claims Protocol is needed to keep Northern Ireland safe from dodgy British goods
- David Davis suggests it could take a decade to solve the Northern Ireland border
- Ex-Brexit secretary admits neither Leave nor Remain saw all the issues created
- EU’s Maros Sefcovic risks inflaming current tensions further in TV interview
- Brussels official suggests it’s EU’s role to protect ‘public health’ in N Ireland
Former Brexit chief David Davis has warned it could take ten years to solve the border row over Northern Ireland.
Fresh tensions between Britain and the EU were on display this week after the Government unveiled legislation to override key parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The unilateral move from London prompted Brussels to revive legal action and once again threaten a bitter UK-EU trade war.
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic blasted Britain’s ‘really damaging’ and ‘politically driven’ decision to go it alone in altering post-Brexit border arrangements.
The top Brussels official has also now risked inflaming tensions further by suggesting it is the EU’s responsibility to protect the ‘public health’ of people in Northern Ireland.
Mr Davis, a leading Leave campaigner who became Brexit secretary under ex-prime minister Theresa May, admitted that neither side of the Brexit referendum debate had fully acknowledged the impact of the UK qutting the EU on the island of Ireland.
He also suggested it could take a decade until a permanent solution was found to the border dispute.
Ex-Brexit secretary David Davis suggested it could take a decade until a permanent solution was found to the Northern Ireland border dispute
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic blasted Britain’s ‘really damaging’ and ‘politically driven’ decision to go it alone in altering post-Brexit border arrangements
The Government this week unveiled legislation to unilaterally override key parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol
In an interview with Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast, the ex-Cabinet minister accepted that many of the benefits of Brexit had still to be realised.
Arguing the Covid pandemic was largely to blame, Mr Davis said: ‘It’s largely recoverable.
‘I mean, Ireland’s going to take a long time.
‘It’s going to take a decade to get right, I think… maybe I’m wrong about a decade, but it’s going to take years.’
Mr Davis claimed he was ‘shut out’ of decision-making by ‘Remainers’ in Number 10 under Mrs May.
He also admitted it was a ‘fair criticism’ to say neither side of the Brexit debate had forecast ‘all the outcomes’ for Northern Ireland during the 2016 referendum campaign.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Sky News, Mr Sefcovic claimed Boris Johnson’s tabling of new legislation to override the Protocol was ‘politically driven’ but added it was not the EU’s role ‘to comment on internal politics in the UK’.
He described the a new Bill published this week – which the Government aims to pass into law if negotiations with Brussels on the Protocol continue to stall – as ‘really damaging’ to trust between the UK and EU.
Mr Sefcovic warned the bloc will ‘keep all options on the table’ in response to the UK’s action – including a trade war with Britain.
And he risked deepening the rift between London and Brussels further by suggesting checks in the Irish Sea are needed to protect Northern Ireland against unsafe goods arriving from Britain.
Asked if the EU would ever establish a trade border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, Mr Sefcovic said he was ‘absolutely ruling out the hard border’.
But he added that a failure by the UK to continue to not check goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, which effectively remains in the EU’s single market, would be additional ‘illegality’ by London.
‘We have to make sure that public health not only of the people in the European Union, but also in the people in the Northern Ireland is not under the threat,’ he told the Beth Rigby Interviews show.
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