We are at a crossroads in relationship with UK — EU's Šefčovič



The EU has threatened to suspends parts of Brexit agreement and warned "patience was wearing thin" over the UK Government's approach to the NI protocol.

"The Protocol was foisted on Northern Ireland against our will and means there are two-and-a-half times more checks at our ports than at Rotterdam, one of the world's largest ports".

Frost will meet European Union vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who on Tuesday wrote in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former newspaper the Daily Telegraph that Brussels would retaliate if Britain again extended a grace period on checks on chilled meats.

Speaking after his meeting with the UK's Brexit minister Lord Frost Wednesday morning, Mr Sefcovic insisted he was "positive we can find a solution, where there is a will there is a way".

Preserving the delicate peace in Northern Ireland without allowing the United Kingdom a back door into the European Union's markets through the 310-mile (500 km) Irish land border was one of the most hard issues of the Brexit divorce. The UK angered Brussels earlier this year when it unilaterally extended the grace period covering many supermarket items, delaying the required inspections for six months.

Mr Poots said the time for talking about "Protocol problems has passed", adding it is "now time for action".

Maros Sefcovic, the commission vice president, called on the British government to respect "its global law obligations", saying Brussels would "not be shy" to respond to any unilateral action from London.

Preserving the delicate peace in the North without allowing the United Kingdom a back door into the EU's markets through the 500km UK-Irish border was one of the most hard issues of the Brexit divorce talks.

Joe Biden's administration has warned against anything that would put the Northern Ireland peace process at risk, ahead of a meeting between Boris Johnson and USA president on Thursday.

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"He underlined the need for quick progress", the spokesperson added. "We're confident that the public would understand that and other countries would understand that".

"I think that's a nonsense".

"But unfortunately we have got used to living in an atmosphere where there are threats".

"I suspect that any United States administration would be amazed if you were to say, for instance, that a sausage from Texas couldn't be sold to California, there would be an outright ban: they really wouldn't understand how that could even be contemplated".

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman later blasted the European Union over the prospect of an import ban on chilled meats.

The UK has taken forward our work to operate the Protocol since the beginning of the year, alongside huge efforts from the Northern Ireland Executive, unprecedented cooperation across a range of departments and agencies, and intensive work with businesses.

"Well, I'm not anxious about that", he told reporters in Cornwall. "You look at the current situation in Northern Ireland, in particular with the political calendar, it is coming up to 'marching season".

Ahead of the gathering in Cornwall, Mr Johnson also discussed the issue in a telephone call on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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