Friday, December 3

EU warns Johnson: don’t touch the emergency Brexit button


The European Union ensures that the United Kingdom has not moved to seek a compromise on post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland and warned London against activating the unilateral emergency provisions of the agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiator David Frost ruled out immediate activation of such provisions, a move that would strain ties with the EU, worry the US and enrage Ireland. But Frost made it clear that he wants Brussels to offer more.

Maros Sefcovic, a deputy head of the European CommissionThe bloc’s executive arm said the EU “has not seen any movement from the British side.”

Activating article 16 would have consequences

“We hear a lot about Article 16 right now,” Sefcovic said after speaking with Frost. “Let there be no doubt that activating Article 16 to seek the renegotiation of the Protocol would have serious consequences.”

London has repeatedly warned that it can activate the emergency measures included in Article 16, which allows either party to take unilateral action if it considers that the agreement governing post-Brexit trade is having a strongly negative impact on its interests.

Sefcovic said activating Article 16 would lead to instability in North Ireland and it would amount to a rejection of the EU’s attempt to find a compromise. He added that he will travel to London to continue the talks.

Some gaps that can still be bridged

Frost “stressed that progress has been limited and that the EU proposals do not effectively address fundamental difficulties in the way the Protocol operates,” a British spokesman said. “From the British point of view, these gaps could still be bridged through more intense discussions.”

The UK left the bloc last year, but has since refused to implement some of the border controls between its Northern Ireland province and EU member Ireland, which the 27-nation union says London is required to do. comply under your divorce agreement.

London says controls are disproportionate and tensions in Northern Ireland are escalating, putting a 1998 peace deal at risk. Brussels says stricter controls are necessary to protect its single market of 450 million people.

“We are not going to activate Article 16 today, but Article 16 is on the table,” Frost told reporters.



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