Posted on Feb 02, 2021
British minister Michael Gove has criticised the European Union for damaging trust by trying last week to impose controls on vaccine exports to the British province, saying it acted "unilaterally and outside proper procedures," Reuters reports.
The European Commission swiftly reversed its position after an outcry in London, Dublin and Belfast, but Gove said harm had still been done. “Trust has been eroded, damage has been done and urgent action is therefore needed,” he said.
He further said there were serious problems with post-Brexit arrangements for trade with Northern Ireland and called for more time to work out better implementation
Northern Ireland shares Britain’s only land border in the EU and has become a focus for post-Brexit trade difficulties, with goods flowing in from Britain subject to expensive and time-consuming extra checks.
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- Northern Ireland supply chain close to collapse, say hauliers
Gove’s comments showed ministers are now taking delays getting goods from Britain to Northern Ireland more seriously, after the government initially called them teething problems.
“They are significant issues which bear on the lives of people in Northern Ireland, which do need to be resolved,” Gove told the House of Commons.
He called for the extension of grace periods which temporarily waive some border rules and said the EU needed to work with Britain fast and determinedly to resolve issues in the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.
“We do need to make sure that supermarkets and other traders can continue, as they are at the moment, to be able to supply consumers with the goods that they need,” said Gove, who negotiated the deal on Northern Ireland with the EU.
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