Previous Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith suggests Brussels guilty of ‘almost Trumpian act’ about Report 16 row


ormer Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith accused Brussels of an “almost Trumpian act” by threatening to override section of Northern Ireland Protocol less than its coronavirus vaccine controls.

The Tory MP explained to BBC Radio 4’s Now programme: “Years have been used attempting to make sure merchandise will circulation freely and there will be no tough border and past night the EU pulled the unexpected emergency wire without the need of adhering to any of the approach that are in the protocol if 1 aspect wants to suspend it.

“And they did that, in my check out, devoid of anywhere in the vicinity of the knowing of the Excellent Friday Agreement, of the sensitivity of the predicament in Northern Ireland, and it was an almost Trumpian act.

“The associations are elaborate, we have to have to invest much, considerably additional time, a lot, a lot more cash and a great deal, significantly a lot more means in getting this partnership right. The EU cocked up massive time previous night but we all need to have to function in the passions of preserving Northern Eire.

“It is not just a backdoor for items likely to Britain, it is a very delicate spot and we have a responsibility of treatment concerning the EU and the United kingdom to preserve no tricky border and security in Northern Eire.”

<p>Taoiseach Michael Martin</p>

Taoiseach Michael Martin

/ PA )

It arrives immediately after Irish premier Micheal Martin welcomed the European Commission’s determination not to invoke Short article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol on Brexit.

Late on Friday evening, Brussels U-turned on the move, pursuing condemnation from London, Dublin and Belfast.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen to express his “grave concern” at the enhancement.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin held a number of cellular phone phone calls with Ms von der Leyen on Friday evening in a bid to solve the problem.

He tweeted: “Welcome decision by the European Fee tonight not to invoke the safeguard clause of the Eire / Northern Ireland Protocol adhering to constructive conversations with @vonderleyen

“This is a optimistic improvement offered the several challenges we confront in tackling Covid-19.”

The shift was universally condemned by politicians in London, Dublin and Belfast, forcing an uncomfortable U-turn from the European Fee, which claimed the incident experienced been an “oversight.”

In a assertion late on Friday, the Fee mentioned it is “not triggering the safeguard clause” to guarantee the Northern Ireland Protocol is “unaffected” immediately after prevalent condemnation of its move as aspect of its export controls on coronavirus vaccines.


European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen

/ PA )

The statement browse: “To deal with the latest deficiency of transparency of vaccine exports outdoors the EU, the Commission is putting in put a measure requiring that such exports are topic to authorisation by Member States.

“In the course of action of finalisation of this evaluate, the Fee will assure that the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol is unaffected. The Fee is not triggering the safeguard clause.

“Should transits of vaccines and active substances towards third international locations to be abused to circumvent the results of the authorisation program, the EU will think about all utilizing all the devices at its disposal.”

Responding, Irish Overseas Affairs Minister Simon Coveney tweeted: “Welcome news, but lessons really should be realized the Protocol is not one thing to be tampered with flippantly, it is an critical, tough gained compromise, guarding peace & trade for many.”