Britain’s Europe minister on Monday called on the European Union to reopen Britain’s access to EU science programmes.
London claims that participation in Skyline Europethe EU’s flagship funding scheme, nuclear regulator Euratom and satellite monitoring group Copernicus were outlined in the post-Brexit trade deal, but the UK was left out.
The UK government believes the delay is a breach of the post-Brexit deal, a claim the EU denies.
Europe Minister Leo Docherty met with EU representatives at the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, a forum for UK and EU parliaments to exchange views on the partnership and monitor the implementation of post-Brexit trade deal.
“We will all benefit from UK participation and it brings no conceivable disadvantage to the EU or its member states, but the EU has politicized scientific cooperation by linking it to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Putting politics in the path of scientific collaboration limits human potential and harms everyone,” Docherty said.
In mid-August, the The UK has launched legal action against the EU on the issue, accusing him of excluding British institutions from scientific research programs because of the dispute over Northern Ireland.
The stream Brexit deal keeps Northern Ireland alive in the single market and the customs union of the European Union to avoid the return of a physical border with the Republic of Ireland.
At the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly in London on Monday, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said the EU “does not want litigation”.
Šefčovič added that the EU and UK could do more together, including research, but said a fundamental part of mutually negotiated, agreed and ratified international agreements were not being met.
However, Britain’s Conservative government has pressured Brussels to revise the protocol and pass legislation that could undermine it, a move that threatens to sour relations with the European Union.
“Now is certainly the time to abandon the reliance on unilateral action, such as the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, intended to remove essential elements of the protocol.
“If this bill were to become law, the UK government would jeopardize Northern Ireland’s unique access to the European market of 450 million consumers,” warned Šefčovič.
A spokesperson for the European Commission told Euronews that agreeing to common solutions under the Northern Ireland Protocol would “build confidence” and “help open doors” for the UK’s association with the Union programs.