UK and EU clash again over Northern Ireland

At the end of last Christmas Eve, the European Union and the UK finally reached a Brexit trade deal. The agreement was reached after the two of them bickered, threatened each other, and failed to meet a deadline to finalize the divorce of the two entities.

At first, there were hopes that Britain’s now-separated relationship from the 27-nation bloc would lead to a calmer situation.

But ahead of this year’s Christmas, one thing became clear – such expectations would not be fulfilled.

Britain’s Brexit minister, Tuesday (12/10), accused the European Union (EU) of expecting its former member to fail and vilifying Britain as an untrustworthy country. David Frost in a speech in Lisbon said the EU “does not always appear to want us to succeed” or “a return to constructive cooperation.”

He said a fundamental rewrite of the mutually agreed Brexit deal was the only way to mend this “fractured relationship”. He warned Britain could push the emergency button on the deal if it didn’t get what it wanted.

“We are constantly faced with accusations that we are not to be trusted and that we are not reasonable international actors,” Frost added in response to EU claims that Britain was seeking to renege on legally binding agreements that were already negotiated and signed.

Post-Brexit tensions have turned into a stalemate over the issue of Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that shares a land border with an EU country, namely Ireland.

Under the most complicated and controversial part of the Brexit deal, Northern Ireland remains within the single EU market for trade in goods, avoiding a physical border with EU member Ireland. [my/jm]

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