As tense negotiations continue between the EU and the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol and with the threat of Article 16 looming, the EU has warned that such a decision would have “serious consequences”.
UK Brexit Minister David Frost expressed dissatisfaction with the EU’s flexibility in regards to proposals that offer alternatives to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Frost wants a complete removal of the protocol so a new one can be established which particularly focuses on the role of the European Court of Justice being abolished.
Seeing this as a threat to the integrity of the EU single market, the EU has proposed an 80% reduction in physical checks for trucks that enter Northern Ireland from the UK.
Although not a favourable option, the UK believes that they are being given no choice but to trigger Article 16 citing the protocol in its current form as causing serious economic and societal difficulties which are two of the elements that allow the protocol to be suspended.
In relation to the EU offering a significant easing of customs restrictions, European Commissioner Vice President Maros Sefcovic stated, “This was a big move by us, but until today we have seen no move at all from the UK side”.
“I find this disappointing, and once again, I urge the UK government to engage with us sincerely.”
He said that triggering Article 16 would have a serious effect on EU-UK relations and that the two sides will hold talks in London next Friday while adding, “I see next week as an important one”.
IMAGE – Pietro Naj-Oleari/Dianna Bonner