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Boris Johnson makes David Frost a "Brexit enforcer"

Boris Johnson appointed his former Brexit chief negotiator David Frost as a minister in the government cabinet on Wednesday. Frost is supposed to take on the role of a “Brexit enforcer”.

He will lead the UK's institutional and strategic relationship with the EU and oversee the implementation of the trade agreement he himself negotiated with the EU in late 2020.

Frost was previously Johnson's advisor at the State Department before being entrusted with Brexit negotiations in July 2019 after Johnson took over the post of Prime Minister from Theresa May.

Frost's combative approach to the negotiations had often caused displeasure among his EU counterpart Michel Barnier. Barnier was particularly annoyed by Frost’s designation of the EU as "your organization".

With yesterday's decision, Frost will now take control of all policy related to UK EU relations from Michael Gove. He thus solidifies his position as a key player in Johnson's administration.

Gove's future responsibilities will focus almost exclusively on British domestic affairs. Frost tweeted yesterday that he wanted to build on the work of his predecessor. Gove had "done exceptional work for this country in talks with the EU over the past year."

Frost's responsibilities will also include "working on domestic reforms and regulations to maximize the opportunities that Brexit will bring," for example in international trade policy, the Cabinet Office said in a statement. In addition, he will co-chair the Partnership Council and the Joint Committee on the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, alongside Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič.

Bumpy start

The first few weeks of the new trading regime were a steep learning curve for many UK businesses. Several industries reported delays and problems with the new red tape.

Last week, Frost claimed in the UK Parliament that the teething problems in implementing the new trade agreement, as well as the dispute over the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, were due to the fact that the EU “is still a little bit attached to the existence of a truly independent actor in its own right Neighborhood has to get used to. "

He also admitted that relations with the EU had been "more than bumpy" and in some cases "problematic" since the UK left the EU internal market at the end of last year.

In addition to the implementation of the trade pact, the UK and the EU are also arguing over the status of the EU diplomatic mission in London. The British government insists on classifying the EU as an international organization - and its diplomatic envoys on a lower level than those of the nation states.

Criticism of Frost's appointment

Meanwhile, there was criticism from the opposition of Frost's appointment as minister. The main reason for this is that he was not previously elected as a member of parliament, but was given ever higher posts as Johnson's confidante.

Labor spokeswoman for international trade, Emily Thornberry, criticized the appointment, complaining that it would hand over control of important EU relations to "someone who was never elected by anyone in this country and who was never elected to any of us in the House of Commons - who in turn have been elected - accountable ”.

[Edited by Tim Steins]

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