EU were ‘foolish’ over Article 16 move says Tony Blair
The Labour peer took to Twitter amid the debacle to claim the EU “generally adds value” to member states. His comments come as Brussels has been embroiled in a vaccine row which saw it move to block vaccines entering the UK before making an embarrassing U-turn.
Lord Adonis tweeted: “The whole point of the EU is that it adds value to the member states.
“It generally does so, which is why we will have to reverse Brexit in due course.
“But unless you are a fool, you believe that all human institutions are fundamentally flawed and in need of constant improvement.”
The Remainer’s tweet prompted a backlash from some Twitter users.
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One hit back: “Except that for the last few years you have been telling us that they are the ‘grownups in the room’.”
Another blasted: “What happened exposed a very large ‘flaw’.”
A third fumed: “Are you actually trying to excuse the EU for their blatant bullying in the last few days?
“Come on, even an EU sycophant like you must’ve shocked by their behaviour.”
Another asked: “You have been proven wrong in all your forecasts so far. Why don’t you for once pitch for uk plc?”
One more simply replied with a series of crying with laughter emojis.
Lord Adonis’ tweet comes after the EU moved to override part of the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland to control shipments of jabs amid supply shortages.
The surprise triggering of Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol sparked condemnation from across the political spectrum before Brussels backtracked.
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Former prime minister Tony Blair, who is a vocal Remainer, admitted the move was “a very foolish thing to do”.
The Labour grandee told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Yes, it was a very foolish thing to do and fortunately they withdrew it very quickly.
“I was somebody who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement, it’s brought peace to the island of Ireland and it is absolutely vital that we protect it and that’s why what the European Commission did was unacceptable but, as you say, fortunately, they withdrew it very quickly.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson held emergency talks with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Friday night.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said on Saturday that the bloc recognises it “made a mistake”.
Mr Gove said: “I think the EU recognises that they made a mistake in triggering Article 16, which would have meant the re-imposition of a border on the island of Ireland.
“I’ve spoken to the European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic about this and we both agreed that we need a reset, that we need to put the people of Northern Ireland first.”
The EU, which has faced criticism over its slow rollout of jabs, attempted to justify the extreme measures as being needed to prevent Northern Ireland being used as a back door to move coronavirus vaccines from the bloc into the UK “due to a lack of supply threatening to disturb the orderly implementation of the vaccination campaigns in the member states”.
It is understood vaccines crossing between the Republic and Northern Ireland will now be recorded in Dublin but will not be at risk of being blocked.
Meanwhile, the UK is pushing ahead with its vaccine programme which has seen 8.3 million people received their first dose and nearly half a million have their second.
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