April 24, 2020
EU must stand firm as Brits continue to disregard agreement – Chris MacManus MEP

EU must stand firm as Brits continue to disregard agreement – Chris MacManus MEP

“The EU must be wise to the old British trickery we’re beginning to see as Brexit now becomes reality” claimed Sinn Fein MEP Chris MacManus. “On the island of Ireland we’re all too aware of the historic conniving we’ve often come to expect from Westminster. It’s vital our European counterparts are keenly aware of this and stand firm if this perceived reneging on agreements continues.”

“The Midlands Northwest MEP was speaking in the wake of the latest round of post-Brexit talks this week. “Clearly the best thing for Ireland is that Britain and the EU negotiate in good faith about a close and mutually beneficial future relationship. However, from what we know of the negotiations this week it seems that the British government are not serious about the negotiations and are not really interested in an agreement. They want to have their cake and eat it!”

In a post-talks press briefing the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier was similarly pessimistic about developments. “We cannot accept selective progress on a limited set of issues only. We need to find solutions on the most difficult topics. The UK cannot refuse to extend the transition period and at the same time slow down discussions on important areas.”

MacManus was equally critical of the British “slow down” in discussions. “Now that they’re out of the EU they also seem to consider the Withdrawal Agreement (a legally binding international treaty) to be optional. They’re dragging their heels on the implementation of the Agreement – particularly the Irish protocol, which provides the bare minimum needed to avoid barbed wire and customs posts on the border. In a very petty and petulant move, typical of their whole attitude to Brexit, They’re also refusing to allow the European Commission to open a technical office in Belfast.

MacManus concluded by drawing attention to the upcoming deadlines and the need for an extension. “In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis it’s very clear now that there is no way that there will be sufficient progress by the end of June. If the British want to prove they are serious then they’ll extend the transition period and get down to some serious negotiations. Either way, the EU has to be ready to take a very firm position on the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. The British government cannot be allowed to get away with their usual trick of renegotiating something they have already agreed upon.” ENDS

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