Same old EU! Frost praised for destroying bloc in crunch Brexit talks -Brussels in tatters
Lord Frost provides update on Northern Ireland protocol
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Tory MPs praised the Brexit minister for breaking through the EU’s stubbornness in negotiations and forcing them to compromise on their red lines. Influential backbenchers and former ministers gave credit to Lord Frost after once again getting the EU to commit to getting around the negotiating table.
Last week the UK unveiled its proposals to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol following a number of clash points in UK-EU relations over the Brexit mechanism.
Among the requests were a “standstill” in the legal action being taken by the European Commission against the UK for claims of infringements of the Protocol.
The European Commission appeared to immediately reject the proposals before today offering a more conciliatory response.
Following the latest U-turn from Brussels, Tory MPs praised Lord Frost for finding holes in the EU’s negotiating strategy, undermining their image for being hard to break down.
“They said they would never re-open the withdrawal agreement, they did; they said they would never re-open the Brexit deal, they did; and they’re doing it again,” North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen told Express.co.uk.
“Lord Frost has done an excellent job for us in negotiating with a difficult, extremely bitter former partner, and he’s got a strategy that is proven to get the best deal for the UK and it’s holding our ground.”
The EU originally refused to re-open talks with Boris Johnson over the withdrawal agreement negotiated with Theresa May, before changing its position.
In a similar move, last week European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen rejected Lord Frosts proposals to renegotiate the Protocol, saying: “The EU will continue to be creative and flexible within the Protocol framework. But we will not renegotiate.”
But today, a Commission spokeswoman U-turned, saying: “The Commission will carefully assess the new proposals made by the UK, in accordance with the necessary consultation procedures, both internally, and with the European Parliament.”
“What this shows is a repeat of the way the EU has behaved in the past,” another MP said.
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“They refused to reopen the withdrawal agreement, said it was impossible to reopen the withdrawal agreement, and then they did.
“They did it because the Prime Minister stood up to them and because Lord Frost stood up to them representing the UK’s interests, they backed down and are now coming to the negotiation table.
“If you stand up to the EU they will back down.”
They added: “It’s the same old EU tactics, say you can’t do something, can’t do something, can’t do something, and then at the very last minute when they realise you won’t budge, they can suddenly be flexible.”
Meanwhile, David Jones, the deputy leader of the European Research Group, said the repeated U-turns was evidence the EU struggles to negotiate deals with other international partners because it has to represent 27 member states all at once.
He said: “I think the problem that you’ve got is that the EU is a collection of member states and some of them are more reasonable than others.
“In order to get the really intransigent ones to come round, they really have to persuade them they’ve gone the extra mile before actually acknowledging there is no purpose in trying to push it any further.”
“The whole thing is a big committee and committees only move at the pace of the slowest participant.”
Lord Frost is due to meet with his EU counterpart in the coming days.
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