LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union should shed its ill will and build a good relationship with Britain as equal sovereigns, the EU’s top British adviser David Frost said on Sunday, vowing to defend the country’s interests.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Frost again defended Britain’s unilateral move to smooth post-Brexit trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, over which the EU has vowed to take legal action for violating the terms of the Brexit deal.
Since Britain left the EU last year, relations between the two have soured, with both sides accusing the other of acting in bad faith in relation to part of their trade agreement covering movements of goods to Northern Ireland. .
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has tried to stay away from the dispute, said Britain and the EU would resolve what he described as “technical problems”, saying those problems were going to happen “in the early stages of our new relationship. “. .
Frost, who led Britain’s negotiations to secure a trade deal with the bloc, was named Johnson’s minister and top man of reference for future ties with the EU earlier this year and appears keen to take a firmer approach.
“I hope they get rid of any ill will that we have left to leave and instead build a friendly relationship between equal sovereigns,” he wrote in an opinion piece.
“That is what I will work on, acting constructively when we can, defending our interests when necessary, as a sovereign country in full control of our own destiny.”
The EU has denied suggestions by some leading Brexiters that it wishes the UK badly post-Brexit, saying it only hopes London will honor the terms of the divorce deal.
Frost again defended the British government’s extension of a grace period for controls on some food products imported by retailers to Northern Ireland as “legal and consistent with the progressive and good faith implementation” of part of the post-Brexit trade deal called North Ireland. protocol.
But he added: “Without this threat of disruption, we can continue our discussions with the EU to resolve difficulties arising from the protocol in a constructive way, and our goal is to do so.”
The future of Northern Ireland was hotly contested during the Brexit negotiations. London eventually agreed to leave the British-ruled province aligned with the EU’s single market for goods to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, fearing it could be detrimental to the 1998 peace deal. that ended decades of conflict in the province.
This has required checks on some items arriving in Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK, which, according to some companies, has made it difficult for supplies to enter. To address that problem, the British government extended the grace period for some checks until October 1.
The EU disputes that the extension of the grace period is in line with the agreement, and says that London should abide by what it signed. He promised to take legal action, or so-called “infringement proceedings” against Great Britain.
Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Mark Heinrich