EU has ‘full confidence’ in UK after ‘very low point of no trust’

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Britain’s relationship with the EU is recovering from a “very low point” of “no trust”, according to Germany’s ambassador to the UK. Miguel Berger praised Rishi Sunak for having developed a “relationship of trust” with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, adding: “This is something we can build on.”

Mr Berger said the EU now has “full confidence” that the UK will implement what has been agreed over Brexit matters in contrast to the experiences with Boris Johnson when prime minister.

MPs will be asked to approve the “Stormont brake” section of the Windsor Framework on Wednesday.

Ms von der Leyen signed up to the framework when she met Mr Sunak in Windsor last month.

Downing Street believes the brake measure – which potentially gives the UK a veto over new EU rules in Northern Ireland – was the “most significant part” of the agreement.

It represents the first Commons test for Mr Sunak’s deal with the EU and he could face a Tory revolt. The deal as a whole seeks to cut red tape on the movement of goods created by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Berger told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I think it’s a very good compromise that has been worked out quietly over four months between the European Commission and the British Government.

“It preserves the Good Friday Agreement, it preserves east-west trade, it means that the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland can stay open, so I think it achieves all the main objectives.

“What I hear very often from business people in Northern Ireland is what they need is predictability and stability and I think the Windsor Framework can achieve that.”

“We understand the sensitivities of the DUP and other Unionists but at the same time I think we need a compromise which allows us to have the necessary confidence in the agreement, and I think this has been achieved.”

Mr Berger added: “We have full confidence that the British Government is really going to implement what was agreed and, as we know, that was not the case with Boris Johnson.”

Asked to describe dealings, he said: “I would say that the relationship was really at a very low point, there was no trust that things agreed will be implemented and this is absolutely different now.

“I think we can look to a brighter future in the relationship.”

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told Sky: “I’m confident the vote will succeed and pass.”

He hoped they would have the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, which collapsed power-sharing in protest at the previous protocol “but ultimately that is for them”.

Labour will vote in favour of the regulations.

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