Lord Frost urges EU to 'tone down language' towards UK
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The Brexit Minister was reportedly waiting for the post-Brexit trade deal to finally be ratified before retaliating to a series of provocative moves by Brussels following the UK’s departure from the bloc. It comes after threats by the EU over coronavirus vaccine supplies and attacks on the AstraZeneca jab.
Britain and the bloc are also at odds over the way the earlier Brexit divorce deal is being implemented in Northern Ireland.
And there has been a bitter row over the ban of exports of shellfish from the UK to the EU.
Writing for the Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph editor Allister Heath said: “Given all of this, why has our supposedly fearless Government stood by so uselessly?
“The answer is that Lord Frost was biding his time, a necessary and disciplined strategy.
“The Government was privately desperate to see the Trade and Cooperation Agreement ratified and didn’t want to trigger a major row until then; the deal had been operating provisionally since January and the EU was taking its time.
“Now that European parliamentarians have signed it off, Britain’s fightback is set to safely commence.”
MEPs on Wednesday approved the post-Brexit trade deal by 660 votes to five, with 32 abstentions.
Lord Frost said the vote was an “important moment”.
He said: “Today’s vote brings certainty and allows us to focus on the future.
“There will be much for us and the EU to work on together through the new partnership council and we are committed to working to find solutions that work for both of us.
“We will always aim to act in that positive spirit but we will also always stand up for our interests when we must – as a sovereign country in full control of our own destiny.”
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “This week is the final step in a long journey, providing stability to our new relationship with the EU as vital trading partners, close allies and sovereign equals.
“Now is the time to look forward to the future and to building a more global Britain.”
Mr Johnson struck the deal with the EU on Christmas Eve after months of wrangling.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Trade and Co-operation Agreement “marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK”.
But she warned that “faithful implementation is essential”.
European Council president Charles Michel said the approval of the deal “marks a major step forward” in UK-EU relations and “opens a new era”.
He said Brussels will work constructively with the UK as an “important friend and partner”.
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