The European Union will undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland unless it shows more “common sense” in negotiations over post Brexit customs checks, Lord Frost has warned.
The treaty established a customs border in the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland to preserve the invisible border with EU member Ireland after Brexit.
“Among the biggest of the issues facing Northern Ireland is the way the Northern Ireland Protocol is currently working,” Lord Frost said in an article ahead of talks next week with the European Commission.
The former Brexit negotiator said that the EU’s insistence on so many checks had led to “delays and complexity” for businesses and concerned unionists.
Lord Frost demanded a lighter touch on customs checks for goods from Britain destined only for Northern Ireland. He said the risk of those entering EU territory was small.
Brussels insists the checks are needed to ensure that any products entering Ireland adhere to EU rules and standards and do not undermine the “integrity” of its Single Market.
The European Commission began legal action against the UK after it unilaterally extended grace periods in the Protocol exempting some products from checks, which Brussels said broke international law.
Negotiations over the implementation of the treaty have continued since then and are expected to resume next week. The commission has repeatedly said it is prepared to look for pragmatic long term solutions within the framework of the Protocol.