‘Brexit debacle’ German newspaper mocks hated deal with swipe at Boris Johnson
EU slammed as Hunt exposes 'technical solutions' to Brexit conundrum
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In an op-ed published on the German website t-online, writer Patrick Diekmann says there is no end to the problems for the British as the Prime Minister’s mistakes “are becoming more and more visible” in spite of his and the EU wanting to move on from Brexit. It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced Government plans to unilaterally axe parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Ms Truss told the Commons on Tuesday, May 17, that the Government intends to introduce legislation which would allow the protocol to be amended, adding that London would prefer a negotiated settlement.
The row has raised fears of a trade war between the UK and EU with the European Commission saying Brussels would be forced to react with “all available measures”.
Mr Diekmann said that more Brits are aware that Brexit “is not a successful model”, pointing to a poll in the Observer which shows more than 60 percent of voters view Britain’s exit negatively.
He describes the chances of customs controls being lifted on goods destined only for Northern Ireland as good.
But the prospect of agreement with the bloc over Britain’s demand for tax benefits in the rest of the UK to apply to the region is “not good”, according to Mr Diekmann.
He wrote: “In the end, both sides know there must be a compromise. But Britain’s threat is hardening the fronts.”
Mr Diekmann concluded: “It is a new, dangerous chapter in the long Brexit drama in which London and Brussels must prevent a powder keg from emerging in Europe.”
Meanwhile, Ms Truss and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan are expected to hold meetings with a bipartisan congressional delegation led by Richard Neal, who heads up the powerful ways and means committee in the US House of Representatives.
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Mr Neal told The Guardian part of his job is to convince the UK not to breach the Brexit treaty.
He said: “They haven’t breached it yet. They’re talking about breaching it, so part of my job is to convince them not to breach it.
“My purpose is manifold but we really want to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and to remind everybody that on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, it has worked splendidly.
“I want to remind everybody in the UK, in Northern Ireland that it should not be treated as a cavalier achievement.”
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The congressman has already met with EU leaders, signalling his support for the bloc on social media.
Mr Neal tweeted early on Saturday: “This morning our delegation met with Maros Sefcovic and Valdis Dombrovskis where they made it clear: The greatest strength between the United States and the EU Commission is our unity.”
Criticism of Mr Johnson came as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waded into the row over protocol.
In a strongly-worded intervention, Ms Pelosi urged the UK and the EU to continue negotiations on the post-Brexit trade arrangements to uphold peace in the region.
The congresswoman said in a statement: “The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the entire world.
“Ensuring there remains no physical border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is absolutely necessary for upholding this landmark agreement, which has transformed Northern Ireland.”
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson described Ms Pelosi’s interference as “entirely unhelpful”.
He said: “I noted that Speaker Pelosi talked about the lack of bipartisan approach or agreement on what the UK government are doing.
“The problem for Speaker Pelosi is that there is not bipartisan or cross-community support for the protocol in Northern Ireland, it is undermining the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, it is undermining the political institutions that were established under that agreement, it undermines the principle of consent.
“You cannot have power-sharing without consensus in Northern Ireland so the bipartisanship or the consensus that is required is not won in the US congress, it’s won in the Northern Ireland Assembly and I would urge Speaker Pelosi to understand that because I think that her contributions are entirely unhelpful, offer no solution, offer no help and merely repeat a mantra that frankly is hopelessly out of date.”
Ms Pelosi’s intervention was also met with scorn from former Brexit minister Lord Frost, who called the statement “ignorant” of the “the realities in Northern Ireland”.
He told the BBC: “There is no plan to put in place a physical border.
“Nobody has ever suggested that, so I don’t know why she is suggesting that in her statement.”
With additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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