Lord Frost blames Brussels and Dublin for creating problems by pushing a ‘fiction’ that there is an integrated economy across all Ireland
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Lord Frost slams EU’s ‘fiction’ over Ireland and blames union’s ‘purism’ for endangering peace process

  • The Government is preparing to publish a law to override the Northern Ireland Protocol despite the EU threatening a trade war if it goes ahead with the decision
  • Lord Frost blames both Brussels and Dublin for creating the border problems 
  • He said both push a ‘fiction’ that there is an integrated economy across Ireland

The European Union’s ‘purism’ is endangering the peace process in Northern Ireland, the UK’s former chief Brexit negotiator will warn today.

Lord Frost blames Brussels and Dublin for creating problems by pushing a ‘fiction’ that there is an integrated economy across all Ireland.

His comments come as the Government prepares to publish a law to override the Northern Ireland Protocol despite the EU threatening a trade war. The protocol imposes stringent checks on goods arriving in the province by sea from Britain to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

In a report by think-tank Policy Exchange, Lord Frost says the Good Friday Agreement is now in peril because of EU ‘purism’ – rather than pragmatism – over the protocol.

Lord Frost blames Brussels and Dublin for creating problems by pushing a ‘fiction’ that there is an integrated economy across all Ireland

Lord Frost blames Brussels and Dublin for creating problems by pushing a ‘fiction’ that there is an integrated economy across all Ireland

He says the concept of the ‘all-island economy’ has ‘bedevilled the negotiations’ over Brexit – but is a ‘fiction’ that was created because it ‘suited the political needs of the EU and Ireland’.

He writes: ‘From their perspective, the logic was obvious. If they could get it accepted that, following the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, the newly open border had created significant economic integration, and that this was now potentially disrupted by Brexit, it would be easier to keep Northern Ireland within the EU regulatory framework.’

Lord Frost argues that just 6 per cent of goods and services produced in Northern Ireland go to the Republic, with only 2 per cent going the other way.

He points out that the two countries have different currencies, tax regimes and economies, with Northern Ireland overwhelmingly linked to mainland Britain.

‘And that is what creates the problem – or one of the many problems – with the current Northern Ireland Protocol or indeed its predecessor,’ he adds.

‘Shaped as the Protocol is by relative UK weakness and EU predominance in the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations, it enshrines a concept, the all-island economy, which suits the EU, Ireland, and their allies politically but which does not exist in real life. Hence the grinding tensions, the economic frictions, and the political turbulence caused by the Protocol.’

Lord Frost says the Protocol could only have worked if the EU had been pragmatic and minimised checks on goods arriving at ports in Northern Ireland from England.

‘As it was, the EU’s purism and its casually destructive handling undermined East / West links from the start and are now bringing the Belfast Agreement itself into great peril,’ he says.

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