Andrew Neil confronts Von der Leyen on ‘desperate response’ to ‘own vaccine incompetence’

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Mr Neil’s comments come after the EU threatened to deny Northern Ireland vaccines by triggering article 16, thus creating a hard border on the island of Ireland, which they campaigned against throughout the years of Brexit negotiations. Under the Brexit deal goods transported over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should remain unfettered. The only exception should be if there is are serious “economic, societal or environmental difficulties” to the transportation of goods.

However, the EU considered triggering article 16 to block the export of coronavirus vaccines from the bloc into Northern Ireland.

Their rationale was that they believed Northern Ireland could become a backdoor for transportation of the vaccines into Britain.

Former BBC presenter Mr Neil today tweeted: “After four years of lecturing Britain that it could never countenance anything that might lead to a hard border in Ireland, the European Union, in a desperate response to its own vaccine incompetence, introduces a hard border.

“Then thinks better of it.

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Brexiteer Martin Daubney reinforced Mr Neil’s views and tweeted: “Yesterday was an utterly disastrous day for the EU.

“They invoked Article 16, which placed a hard border to NI.

“They completely abandoned the UK during a global pandemic and violated legal contracts.

“This should never, ever be forgiven.

“Shame on them.”

However, one follower of Mr Neil replied to his tweet saying, “A confluence of events outside the EU’s control, lead to a knee-jerk decision they undid in hours.

“It takes guts to walk back a mistake publicly.

“The UK is gloating because it gambled on the vaccine early and ignoring the recommended two doses, in order to chase some quick wins.

DUP leader and Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster declared the EU had placed a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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She said: “By triggering Article 16 in this manner, the European Union has once again shown it is prepared to use Northern Ireland when it suits their interests but in the most despicable manner over the provision of a vaccine which is designed to save lives.

“At the first opportunity, the EU has placed a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over the supply chain of the coronavirus vaccine.

“With the European Union using Article 16 in such an aggressive and most shameful way, it is now time for our Government to step up.”

Outspoke Remainer Femi also tweeted in defence of the bloc: “It’s the bias for me.

“UK government policy threatens the Irish Peace process for 5 years.

“EU Commission policy threatens the Irish Peace process for 5 hours.”

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