Brexit: Brussels prepares to deal with the new risks of escalating with London over Northern Ireland-zimo news


For several weeks, Brussels has not mentioned the risk of a new crisis with the UK. However, in this return, the prospect of seeing London launching unilateral measures under Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol does not seem to be so theoretical anymore. This move is considered extreme and will further deteriorate the relationship between London and the European continent.

The “Agreement” is a key part of the Brexit Treaty, which defines the dual status of Northern Ireland (the province is still part of the United Kingdom, but maintains the status of the European internal market in terms of trade in goods).It contains Article 16, which allows each party to “Serious economic, social or environmental difficulties may persist or divert trade flows”, Take unilateral safeguard measures. For example, the suspension of all or part of the customs control established by Brexit between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

David Frost, the European Relations Minister of the Boris Johnson administration and the chief negotiator before Brexit, regularly wields the Article 16 threat. On July 21, when Downing Street formally called for renegotiating the protocol, he insisted that the conditions to activate Article 16 were in place.At the hearing held in the House of Lords on September 14, Mr. Frost insisted that the European Union (EU) must agree to renegotiate the protocol and “If she thinks we are not ready to use Article 16, that would be a major mistake.”

During the Conference of Ministers of European Affairs, Tuesday, September 21st, “Some member states have asked the committee to prepare for all scenarios. We will”After the meeting, Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, said. “When it comes to Brexit, Europeans have already begun to act. We must be careful not to feel guilty for indulging the British to do whatever they want. We must re-mobilize the Member States.”, Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, explained. The threat of activating Article 16 in London scares some countries more than other countries, such as France, whose fishermen rely heavily on British waters. The presidential election is scheduled for April 2022.

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