European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Sunday warned the UK government against “unilateral actions” such as holding EU citizens in detention centers, and urged London and Brussels to “calm down” and to “focus on the future”.
The media report that “European citizens are being held in holding cells or given fingerprints just because they wanted to visit the UK, it doesn’t help the atmosphere,” Šefčovič told the Andrew Marr Show of the BBC.
POLITICO recently reported that 30 EU citizens had been detained and detained in immigrant removal centers after attempting to enter the UK to work there without visas or residency status.
They were German, Greek, Italian, Romanian and Spanish nationals who had been detained at the British border and detained for up to seven days before being returned to their country of origin.
“I think what we need in our EU-UK relationship is more … cooperation, a common approach and not unilateral actions, because I think that would further worsen our relationship,” Šefčovič told Marr.
“We have to calm down, focus on how we are going to solve the problems and focus on the future,” he added.
During the program, Šefčovič clashed verbally with Edwin Poots, the newly elected leader of Northern Ireland’s main Protestant party, the Democratic Unionists.
Poots demands a cancellation of the Irish protocol to the Brexit trade deal, which creates a new trade border for goods shipped to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK
Poots warned that Northern Ireland faces a potentially violent summer of unionist street protests, unless the EU relaxes the protocol’s requirement to fully enforce EU customs and health controls on goods from Great Britain.
Šefčovič said the obvious solution would be for the UK and the EU to agree on common veterinary standards, which would eliminate the need for controls on animal and plant products, accounting for four-fifths of Northern Ireland’s imports from from Great Britain.
On Saturday, Šefčovič gave an interview to the Financial Times in which he warned the UK of growing impatience among EU countries over Northern Ireland’s trade woes and other post problems. -Brexit.
“All these solutions come from our side,” Šefčovič told the FT. “It is quite clear that, if we do not see positive developments, that the atmosphere would be more sour … The political environment would be much more difficult.”
Since Brexit, EU citizens have not been allowed to enter the UK to work there unless they have a work visa or EU settlement program status, which guarantees the right of residence to those who live in Great Britain before leaving the EU.
EU nationals can enter Britain without a tourist visa and stay for up to 180 days. The UK Border Force has the right to refuse entry to EU nationals if officials have reasonable grounds to suspect that they intend to work in the country but cannot produce a work visa.
Shawn Pogatchnik contributed reporting.