Article 16: EU slammed for ‘hostile act’ by Lord Dodds
Former DUP MP Nigel Dodds has hit out at the EU for carrying out what he called a “hostile act”, which “exposes the entire hypocrisy of the Northern Ireland Protocol”. This comes after Brussels backed down on its threat to override part of the Brexit deal on Northern Ireland and impose export controls on life-saving coronavirus vaccines. The decision sparked swift condemnation from London, Dublin and Belfast.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen of his “grave concerns” over Brussels’ move to invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to disrupt the flow of jabs from the bloc into the region on Friday.
Lord Nigel Dodds said the EU’s decision to invoke Article 16, prior to its eventual U-turn, showed that “its whole approach to Northern Ireland has been based on hypocrisy and falsehood”.
In a scathing rant, he told BBC Newsnight: “I’m not surprised the EU is scrambling around having made a complete mess of the situation throughout this week.
“What the EU did, in implementing Article 16 and overriding parts of the protocol, this whole approach to Northern Ireland has been based on a hypocrisy and a falsehood over a number of years.”
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The DUP’s deputy leader continued: “They were prepared, and they still are, to reserve the position that they will in the future if necessary, invoke Article 16 in order to create a hard border in the island of Ireland, for vaccines to help people get through a pandemic.
“It’s outrageous. It is a hostile act, as the DUP leader has said, and it exposes the entire hypocrisy of the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
Following the initial Article 16 move on Friday evening, Lord Nigel Dodds tweeted: “So there we have it. EU still absolutely prepared to implement hard border.
“Exposes hypocrisy over their demand for Protocol barriers to trade within the UK.
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“EU rips up Protocol when it suits them to impose hard border in Ireland. Genie now out of the bottle. All their arguments on NI exposed as hypocrisy on stilts.
“UK Govt must act decisively to rid us of barriers between NI and GB by (now plainly unnecessary) Protocol provisions.”
Conservative MP John Redwood echoed this call, as he tweeted: “The UK must now legislate to take control of GB / Northern Ireland trade and our fish.
“The EU’s conduct on vaccines is unacceptable. They should apologise to Astra Zeneca and remove their threats to our trade.”
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Others mocked that the EU’s commitment to the Brexit deal “lasted a whole 28 and a bit days”.
The Article 16 move came as the bloc ramped up its row with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca over shortfalls in the delivery of jabs.
Brussels is coming under increasing pressure from within its own bloc following a sluggish rollout of its immunisation programme and a shortage of coronavirus vaccines.
Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney welcomed the EU’s U-turn, but said “lessons should be learned”.
He tweeted: “The Protocol is not something to be tampered with lightly, it’s an essential, hard-won compromise, protecting peace and trade for many.”
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