The Government is understood to be ready to trigger “formal consultations” – a mechanism under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement used to resolve disputes – as soon as this week, according to two people familiar with the government’s plans have claimed. The UK is accused the EU of excluding it from Horizon Europe, the Copernicus earth observation project, and the nuclear regulator Euratom.
Pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU last month urged Britain to withdraw from the science projects, into which it is currently committed to paying £11billion, a pro-Brexit think tank has said.
A Facts4EU spokesman said the move stemmed from Brussels’ desire to “blackmail” the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol, the controversial mechanism aimed at preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Critics in the Unionist community claim it has instead resulted in a border down the Irish Sea.
The spokesman added: “It’s time to consign the EU’s science projects to the petri dish of history, and withdraw £11billion UK funding.”
“Why should the UK commit to £11billion for EU science projects it’s banned from?”
(More to follow)