Brexiteer MEP Tim Aker accused EU chiefs of arbitrarily stoking trouble around the Northern Ireland border in a bid to hamper the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “The EU has used Northern Ireland to stoke up trouble to derail Brexit.
“The EU will make any issue difficult in order to stop us leaving so it can keep our money.”
The EU lawmaker’s statement was echoed by MEP Margot Parker, who said: “The Northern Ireland border is yet another tool to beat the UK with.”
Mr Aker attacked the EU for blowing the issue out of proportion, and noted that “communities and countries” working together does not require a “sweeping political deal”.
Making an analogy between inter-county cooperation within the UK, he said: “Councils across the UK work together on issues that occur on their borders rather than both having to write to the Government to sort it out for them.
“Sometimes common sense goes missing and people create bigger problems than already exists.”
He also questioned why the issue had been escalated to such a degree when the EU voted this week for a soft border between Italy and Switzerland, a non-EU nation.
Making a similar complaint, Ms Parker noted many countries resolve cross-border issues on a case by case basis.
She said: “There has never been a hard border since 1923. We have managed fine since, and it’s only now that it is becoming a politicised issue.
“Some good will between parties and the good implementation of modern technology would all the process to work smoothly.
“There is no need for cross-border co-operation not to continue, if both sides want it to.”
Ms Parker pointed to the ‘maximum facilitation’ model as a potential solution to the deadlock, which would see the UK implement technology and a ‘trusted trader’ plan to reduce post-Brexit customs checks by monitoring goods passing through the border.
Meanwhile, Mr Aker noted a simple free trade deal would solve the crisis.
However, in a stark warning to the EU, he said: “If the EU and Ireland want to go for a trade war with the UK, they will come off far worse.
“The UK has partnerships and cooperates with countries all over the world, we aren’t just limited to having relationships with those in the EU.
“We’re their biggest market and they know that, so it’s all bluster and brinkmanship from the EU.
“The shocking thing is the gullible Government believe the EU’s bluff.”