At European Scrutiny Committee Lord Frost says UK has 'internalised EU law and EU ways of thinking over the last 50 years' and should use Brexit to get 'back to arrangements consistent with the lighter touch common law...the ability to experiment and develop things as we go on'.
He adds: 'One of the advantages we will get from Brexit is the opportunity to do things differently. I don't think we should accept that we're in the EU's regulatory orbit...we do need to develop our own ways of doing things and our own philosophy behind it.'
On the NI Protocol he says 'there's the risk of gaps opening up in regulation between NI and rest of UK' and cites reports about cancer drugs - which EU denies - saying 'that sort of thing is going to be a problem if we can't find pragmatic ways through it that protect our NHS'.
Lord Frost tells MPs: 'The fundamental problem for us is if the way the Protocol is operating is undermining the GFA rather than supporting it then we obviously have a problem. That wasn't what the Protocol was meant to do and if it is doing it then it's not working right.'
Lord Frost says the EU has been 'pretty pragmatic' on customs checks on UK goods and 'the operational relationship between the agencies concerned is pretty good'. He says reports of customs officials 'complaining about the wrong stamp or the wrong coloured pen' are 'isolated'.
On French fishing complaints, Lord Frost says: 'It's possible too many of our friends in Europe thought we'd agreed 5-and-a-half years of no change and that's not the case. We have the right to regulate our own waters in a totally different way. I'm sure it will settle down.'
He adds: 'We don't choose gunboat diplomacy but we were reacting to a demonstration that could've caused severe practical problems for Jersey. It didn't cause any problems and I like to think our naval presence was part of that. We have to be able to stand up for our fishermen.'
Lord Frost says in EU 'there are people who see Brexit as a zero-sum game and want us to face difficulties' but the 'large current opinion...wants trade to continue in as free flowing way as possible'. He adds: 'I like to think things will settle down in a fairly pragmatic way.'
Lord Frost reveals (unsurprisingly) that the UK is making no headway in its attempts to secure a deal with the EU on asylum to replace Dublin. He says: 'Although some Member States probably do want to do bilateral agreements that's not necessarily how the Commission sees it.'
Back on the NI Protocol, Lord Frost says 'from the EU point of view the easiest solution to any border problem is we should just operate the same rules as they do. That doesn't work for us and isn't going to be the solution.' UK wants equivalence of SPS standards but EU says no.
He adds: 'The processes around the boundary between GB/NI are significant. They probably have a bigger chilling effect than we thought on GB businesses wanting to move goods into NI. That's one of the problems underlying some of the unrest & political developments we're seeing.'
Lord Frost says of talks with EU: 'Maros [Sefcovic] has to operate within a mandate set by the wider Commission and other Member States, not all of which understand NI as well as he now does, and I think that is one of the reasons we're finding difficulty in moving this forward.'
He adds: 'We want to see a bit more flexibility in the way this arrangement is implemented. There's certainly no evidence of goods going into the SM that we're aware of. We need a sensible discussion about the genuine risk and the genuine problems produced by excessive process.'
Lord Frost says: 'Businesses and a good proportion of society in NI feel anxious about the effect of the trade boundary between GB and NI. They are seeing effects from it they are having to divert supplies to some extent, and they are concerned about where this might take us.'
He adds: 'The level of checks in some cases is probably quite a lot lower than what the EU would like. But it's not just the checks, it's the process. It's the fact everyone has to interact with a process which can be cumbersome even if your goods never need to be checked.'
Rebecca Ellis, head of the NI Unit at the Cabinet Office, says the cancer drug Osimertinib couldn't be authorised in NI. 'The grace period does not and would not allow the MHRA to licence this particular drug for use in NI.' The EU denies that's the case.…
Lord Frost says aligning with EU food standards to solve the NI problem isn't a goer as it would hit UK trade policy. Other countries 'want to know any agreement represents a genuine agreement with us and not by proxy with the EU. We have to have control, we can't subcontract.'

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More from @nickgutteridge

15 Apr
1/ How time flies - there are now only two weeks left for the EU Parliament to ratify the Brexit trade deal before its provisional application runs out at the end of the month. There has long been an assumption in the end MEPs will put up and shut up, but is it quite that simple?
2/ So far the Parliament's main groupings have refused to set a date for the vote. But if it's going to happen, it's got to be at the April 26-29 plenary. In the meantime MEPs are carrying on laying the groundwork and the deal is set to clear its final committee hurdles today.
3/ What happens if they don't hold the vote in time? 1. The EU Commission asks for another extension which the UK would agree to, albeit under protest. Govt spox: 'We have agreed to extend the deadline for the EU...and we expect them to complete their processes to this timeline.'
Read 11 tweets
25 Mar
1/ Ex Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker says he's 'not a fan' of Ursula von der Leyen's export ban and 'I don't think this is the right way to do it'. He fears it will create 'major reputation damage' to the EU as a champion of free trade, in an interview with @BBCHARDtalk
2/ Juncker says: 'We have to pull back from a vaccine war. We have special relations with Britain, there's room for dialogue. Nobody understands why we're witnessing such a stupid vaccine war. This cannot be dealt with in a war atmosphere. We are not enemies, we are allies.'
3/ Juncker also admits the EU has messed up its rollout, but says the Member States share fault and VDL shouldn't resign. He says it was 'too cautious' approving vaccines and 'too budget conscious' in negotiations. The latter was 'a major mistake which should not have happened'.
Read 5 tweets
23 Mar
1/ The principle of 'reciprocity' of supply is at the heart of finding a solution to the UK-EU vaccines stand-off. But it's not a simple case of counting jabs export numbers. It's also about weighing each party's overall contribution to the development and production of vaccines.
2/ This is not only about finished vaccines, but also about international supply chains and the raw materials that go into them. Croda International, based in Yorkshire, provides lipid components for the Pfizer jab which is made here in Belgium, for example.
3/ And then there's the question of public funding towards the development of vaccines and scaling up of production. Should that count towards reciprocity? The UK contributed £88 million to getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab off the ground. Germany and the EU gave Pfizer funding.
Read 6 tweets
16 Mar
EMA boss Emer Cooke on AstraZeneca vaccine: 'At present there is no indication vaccination has caused these conditions. We’re still firmly convinced the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk of side-effects.' Its evaluation into the jab's safety will conclude on Thursday.
EMA boss Emer Cooke: 'We are looking at adverse events associated with all vaccines. We have looked at the background rates for all the vaccines currently in circulation and it looks like there are similar numbers coming in across the world.'
EMA boss Emer Cooke: 'The decisions that are taken at a national level are being taken in the context of the information that’s available at national level, and it's the countries’ prerogative to do so. It’s our responsibility to focus on the science associated with these risks.'
Read 5 tweets
3 Mar
1/ So, just two months into the new UK-EU relationship we've already reached the point where the two sides are arguing over what constitutes a breach of the NI Protocol. Britain says it's done nothing wrong. Brussels is fuming. What's up?…
2/ The latest row is about the UK's announcement that it plans to unilaterally extend grace periods exempting goods going from GB to NI from EU checks. These were agreed in the NI Protocol and are due to expire at the end of the month. But the UK is prolonging them until Oct 1.
3/ Today's announcement concerned health certificates usually required when moving products of animal origin. But later this week the UK is also expected to bring forward similar measures covering parcels and shipments of goods containing soil like pot plants and seed potatoes.
Read 15 tweets
18 Feb
1/ Trade Secretary Liz Truss will travel to Brussels tomorrow for talks with EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. She will urge the EU to join forces with Britain and the US to tackle China's 'appalling behaviour' on the world stage.…
2/ The talks will centre on matters of global trade, not the EU-UK trading relationship which is Lord Frost's domain. On the world stage Ms Truss wants to 'work hand-in-glove' with both Europe and the US, 'particularly on challenging China to play fair and clean up its act'.
3/ The meeting comes after the EU published a new trade policy today that warns the 'rapid rise of China affects a level playing field for European companies competing globally and at home' and says Europe needs 'the tools to defend ourselves when we face unfair trade practices'.
Read 4 tweets

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