Acknowledging relations between the EU and UK are “very poor”, Lord Hague insisted Brussels must “get over” Britain’s exit. Amid the issues seen in Northern Ireland, Lord Hague insisted the two sides have now reached a “crisis point” which may harm the peace process in Ireland. While the EU has issued the UK with several threats post-Brexit, Lord Hague praised Britain for its “effective diplomacy” over the last few months.
Although the UK has finally left the bloc, four years after voting to do so, Lord Hague insisted one option to repair relations is for Brussels to understand that Britain has finally left.
Writing for The Times, Lord Hague said: “Are we going to acknowledge on both sides that Britain has left the European Union, is not coming back, that everybody can now get over it, that we are each other’s most important neighbours and it is entirely possible to create a better atmosphere for millions of people who will want to work, travel, invest and study abroad?”
In order to ease trade, the UK extended the grace period for goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
This means traders do not need to apply full customs checks on goods such as agrifoods.
By making the move unilaterally, however, the EU accused the UK of violating the Brexit agreement.
Amid these tense relations, violence has erupted in Northern Ireland between loyalist and unionist groups in Belfast.
Loyalist groups have become concerned the Northern Ireland protocol separates the country from the rest of the UK and draws a border down the Irish Sea.
Security officials have claimed the violence seen in Belfast has been some of the worst in the city over the last two decades.
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“Both the UK and EU are engaging with business, civil society and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland, to understand the issues they are facing.
“The UK remains committed to working through the outstanding issues in order to restore confidence on the ground in Northern Ireland, reflect the needs of communities and respect all dimensions of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”
In order to stop the creation of a hard border in Ireland, the UK agreed to the protocol which keeps means Northern Ireland must adhere to the EU’s single market and some of its customs regulations.
Commenting on the issues in Northern Ireland, Lord Hague said: “Most of all both sides need to treat Northern Ireland as a joint and overriding priority.
“Innovative solutions to the enforcement of the protocol must be found.