The EU’s ambassador to the United Kingdom has rejected accusations by new Democratic Unionist leader Edwin Poots that Brussels was doing “demonstrable harm” to the Northern Ireland peace process.
João Vale de Almeida condemned “a public discourse that raises unrealistic expectations” in an interview with the BBC’s Today program on Tuesday. He insisted that the Northern Ireland protocol, which created a post-Brexit trade barrier between Northern Ireland and Britain, “is not the problem. Brexit created the problem in Northern Ireland.”
Regarding Poots’ accusations, he said: “I don’t think those statements have adherence to reality.” Poots, whose DUP campaigned for Brexit, frequently criticizes the protocol and has vowed to overturn it.
“There is no alternative to the protocol. Even those, and you mentioned some, that criticize the protocol do not present an alternative which is compatible with the terms of Brexit,” Almeida said.
He added that “joint decisions are needed, not unilateral measures, not a public discourse that raises unrealistic expectations.”