U.K.-EU Relations ‘More Than Bumpy’ Since Brexit, Frost Says

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The U.K. government said its relations with the European Union have been “problematic” since Brexit, following disputes over issues including vaccines, trade and Northern Ireland.

“It’s been more than bumpy in the last six weeks,” David Frost, the U.K. representative for Brexit and International Policy, told a parliamentary committee Tuesday. “I hope we’ll get over this. It is going to require a different spirit, probably, from the EU.”

Frost, who negotiated the free-trade agreement with the EU on Britain’s behalf, identified the EU’s criticism of the U.K.’s approach to its vaccine roll-out, border hold-ups, and the accreditation of diplomatic missions as issues that have arisen so far in 2021.

Frost said the EU is still adjusting to having a “genuinely independent actor in their neighborhood.”

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove likened the situation to the turbulence an aircraft experiences around take-off, before settling into stable flight at a cruising altitude.

At that point, “the crew tell you to take your seat-belts off and enjoy a gin and tonic and some peanuts,” Gove said. “We’re not at the gin and tonic and peanuts stage yet.”

Gove is due to meet European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic on Thursday to discuss problems with the Brexit settlement relating to Northern Ireland, and has called for extensions to trade grace periods covering the region.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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