‘EU shoots itself in foot again!’ Britons hit out at bloc’s tantrum over £80bn scheme

BBC Breakfast: Fallout from Brexit Minister Lord Frost's speech

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Mariya Gabriel, the EU’s Commissioner for Innovation and Research, confirmed the UK will be unable to join the Horizon Europe project until issues over the protocol are resolved. Brexit Secretary Lord Frost has threatened to trigger Article 16 – which would unilaterally suspend many of the current measures – unless the bloc satisfies the UK’s demands.

The EU has so far resisted renegotiating the deal with several MEPs lobbying Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to punish the UK if it does not come to heel.

News of the EU’s decision was slammed by many Express.co.uk readers.

Michael Taylor wrote: “Nice to see the EU shooting themselves in the foot again.

“The UK has been at the forefront of most European research programmes over the last five decades.

“If they wish to cut themselves off from that expertise because of their petulance, let them.”

User MrVGrumpy said: “This is a perfect example of why the EU does not work.

“Initiatives are blighted by unrelated issues because of political interference.”

“But we’re not failing to adhere to it or rip it up, we’re looking to use the mechanisms within that deal to amend the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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“Totally different and you know it.”

Express.co.uk reader Backagain said: “I have only this to say to the EU on this matter: Remember Galileo (the EU’s space programme)?

“The EU barred the UK from having access and since then the UK has REJECTED the EU’s attempt to offer us back into the Galileo programme.

“The EU will regret this political grievance against Switzerland and the UK.”

The project has been billed as the EU’s signature funding initiative that pools in more than £80bn for research and innovation.

So far both the UK and Switzerland have been blocked from joining over separate disagreements they are having with Brussels.

Speaking earlier this week, Ms Gabriel warned that “transversal issues need to be tackled first”.

She told ScienceBusiness: “Association is a thematic subject, and I am confident that we are ready to tackle it as soon as possible, but transversal issues need to be tackled first.”

She added the UK’s membership will only be resolved once the diplomatic crisis is averted,

“I think that it is important on our side to confirm our opinion to advance on association, but only after the framework is agreed by both sides,” she explained.

There has also been a breakdown in cooperation between the EU and Switzerland, with the latter suspending bilateral negotiations with the bloc.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the European Economic Area but is part of the single market.

The two have clashed over Switzerland’s contributions to the EU’s Cohesion Fund, which supports investment in environment and transport infrastructure.

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