Arlene Foster blasts Brussels, saying the EU has its “heads in sand,” leaving Northern Ireland in disarray.

Due to the European Union’s refusal to renegotiate, the United Kingdom is likely to abandon the Northern Ireland agreement completely. 

As political volatility increases, Boris Johnson’s government and the European Union have hit a deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Concerned about the Protocol, the unionist DUP has refused to propose the speaker of the Northern Ireland House after the local elections. 

Their primary concern is that the border checks in the Irish Sea would exacerbate the cost-of-living issue on Northern Island and further separate it from the United Kingdom. 

However, by refusing to pick a speaker, the DUP renders the government useless and plunges the nation into a political crisis. First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster claims the EU is on a collision path with the United Kingdom. 

Ms Foster, speaking to GB News, stated:

“The European Union is keeping their heads in the sand and hoping it will go away.

“But it will not go away.

“We’ve seen that now unfortunately through the fact that we don’t have a Northern Ireland Assembly operating.

“This isn’t a surprise this afternoon that the Speaker of the House hasn’t been elected. That was expected.”

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the DUP, made it plain that his party will not bend, stating:”We are a party that keeps its word.”

“We have given our word to these people, we will hold to that word until these issues are properly addressed and resolved.”

Ms Foster, reflecting on her own political experience as the former first minister of Northern Ireland, stated: “It happened back in 2019 when I was the First Minister as well.

“The speaker refused to be elected at that stage by Sinn Fein, so it happens.”

Adding: “The Assembly can’t function without a speaker. That’s why it needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.  

“But there isn’t the will to make it happen and that’s the fundamental problem.”

Liz Truss and Maros Sefcovic talked on the phone, but they couldn’t come to an agreement because the EU didn’t want to renegotiate the deal.

Ms Foster, when questioned about the potential of the United Kingdom unilaterally abandoning the agreement, stated: “Under the WTO rules, they’re only able to take action which is proportionate to the harm that is caused by removing the protocol.

“And there won’t be any harm by removing the protocol because there’s minimal risk to the (EU) single market from goods coming across from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

“Very few of those goods go into the European Single Market.

“And those goods that do that can be checked remotely. They don’t need to be checked at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“They can be checked through digital processes and alternative arrangements.”