David Frost’s masterplan labelled a ‘success’ while EU not in a ‘strong position’
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As the talks concluded between Lord Frost and Maros Sefocivc on Friday, Alexander Horne, commentator and law professor claimed the Brexit minister has been successful in unlocking “pragmatic compromises” from the EU. While relations have now fallen to a low point, he claimed there has been some movement due to Lord Frost’s negotiating tactic. Although he claimed the EU is unlikely to remove the European Court of Justice’s role in the Northern Ireland protocol, professor Horne claimed the proposal to cut checks on goods from Brussels had been a success for Lord Frost.
He said: “Where the approach has been more successful is in unlocking some pragmatic compromises on the operation of the Protocol itself.
“The various grace periods have been extended and it’s unclear whether some of those rules will ever be enforced.
“While there are disputes as to the scope of some of the other concessions offered by the EU, it’s nonetheless clear that there has been some movement.”
Although he did praise the Brexit minister, he also warned the demands from the UK’s command paper relating to Northern Ireland, may not be achievable.
Talks concluded on Friday with Lord Frost warning significant gaps remain between the two sides.
Throughout negotiations, Lord Frost insisted the European Court of Justice must be removed as Northern Ireland is part of the UK.
If the demands are not met, the UK has warned it will trigger Article 16 of the protocol to suspend parts of the deal.
In response, the EU has warned it will strike back with a number of proposals and may even terminate the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
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While the EU has threatened to terminate the deal, professor Horne suggested this may not be as from a strong a position as Brussels may like to present.
Professor Horne added: “I am not convinced that the EU’s move to threaten to collapse the TCA comes from a position of strength.
“Rather, it seems to me that they have come to the conclusion that proportionate counter-measures under the Withdrawal Agreement might not have the desired effect.
“But this is where the real test comes.
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“One is left with the impression Johnson and Frost wish to create a moment which can be portrayed in the same light as Thatcher at Fontainebleau – a great concession, like the rebate, that can be spun as a major victory.”
It is thought the UK may trigger Article 16 following the COP26 summit.
While Lord Frost issued a downbeat summary of talks on Friday, his counterpart welcomed a “changing tone” from the Brexit minister.
Mr Sefcovic also claimed the two sides could make progress on medicines during talks next week.
He said: “We need to make serious headway in the course of next week.
“This is particularly important as regards the issue of medicines.
“I stand by my commitment to do whatever it takes to address this issue in line with what industry tells us.”
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