The EU’s ambassador to Britain has said today that there needs to be more trust in the UK-EU post-Brexit relationship as rows over vaccines and Northern Ireland rage on.
Ambassador João Vale de Almeida told journalists today that “trust is the most important commodity in international relationships” and that “when levels of trust go down you are less capable of finding solutions”.
Read more: Boris Johnson hits back at ‘completely false’ EU vaccine ban allegations
Almeida’s comments come as Boris Johnson and foreign secretary Dominic Raab yesterday hit out at “completely false” allegations made by the EU about the UK blocking shipments of vaccines to other nations.
EU President Charles Michel on Tuesday falsely claimed the UK had an “outright ban” on exports of vaccines produced in the UK.
Raab called Almeida to a meeting on Wednesday to “set the record straight”, with UK officials reportedly furious at the comments that come during the EU’s slow rollout of the vaccine.
Brussels and London are also rowing over the UK’s decision to unilaterally postpone new border checks in Northern ireland on food, parcels and medicines sent from Great Britain.
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Brussels was outraged that the UK did not consult the EU on the decision, with officials calling it a breach of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
EU nations have now agreed to launch legal action against the UK in the European Courts of Justice.
Almeida said today that tensions needed to be eased for the two sides to work together post-Brexit.
“We will have differences and the last few weeks show some of those difeernces,” he said.
“We need to approach these not in conflict. For all that we need to have high levels of trust – mutual trust.
“When levels of trust go down you are less capable of finding solutions.”
Tensions have risen between the UK and EU in recent weeks, with new defacto Brexit minister Lord David Frost telling the EU to stop sulking over Brexit in a Sunday Telegraph comment piece.
Read more: EU nations agree to launch legal action against UK in Northern Ireland Brexit row
It came after Frost raised hackles in Brussels by unilaterally delaying checks on new goods in Northern Ireland, due to begin next month, until October.
It was done to better prepare businesses in Northern Ireland for Brexit changes and to prevent supermarket shortages .
The UK government has said the measure was “lawful”, despite the EU’s legal challenge.
An EU official said “unilateral decisions and are not solutions”.
“The only solution for problems is joint decisions as we are seeing in the Withdrawal Agreement in the case of Northern Ireland,” they added.
Michel’s unfounded comments about the UK blocking vaccines added fuel to the fire and restarted a row over vaccines that began earlier this year.
More to follow.