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Brexit News: the imminent threat of the Article 16 will not be triggered for now

  •   3 min reads
Brexit News: the imminent threat of the Article 16 will not be triggered for now

The UK government has told the EU to "stay calm" accusing it of making disproportionate threats that could see the suspension of the Brexit trade deal.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Brexit minister David Frost, addressed the arrangement talks in Northern Ireland as unfinished. He stated that the UK’s suggestions did not seem to be sufficient to the EU demands. Therefore, Lord Frost added that more talks would be held to overcome the differences over the subject.

“In my view this process of negotiations has not reached its end.  Although we have been talking for nearly 4 weeks now, there remain possibilities that the talks have not yet seriously examined, including many approaches suggested by the UK.” said the Brexit minister.
“I gently suggest that our European friends should stay calm and keep things in proportion”, he went on.
The Lord Frost’s official portrait from the UK Government website.

If the dispute between the UK and EU do not find a common ground, Lord Frost admitted triggering the Article 16 was still the UK’s last card. But he told the House of Lords that this would not happen before exhausting all the other negotiating possibilities.

“I certainly will not give up on this process unless and until it is abundantly clear that nothing more can be done.” Claimed Lord Frost.
The official added: “If, however, we do in due course reach that point, the Article 16 safeguards will be our only option (…) if Article 16 were to be used, we would set out our case with confidence and we would spell out why it was wholly consistent with our legal obligations.”

Further talks between the UK and the EU are expected today.

What is the Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol?

As the United Kingdom and the European Union try to solve the trade impasse over the post-Brexit deals, the Article 16 was potentially invoked by both entities as a threatening last resource to respond to the problematic.

The Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol acts by unilaterally imposing “safeguard” measures to remedy commercial issues. Either party is allowed to trigger the Article 16 if there is evidence that the current trade deals are provoking “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”.

The Northern Ireland Protocol was created to prevent a hard border trade on the island of Ireland, ensuring the free movement of people and goods between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) into the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU).

However, the UK government said that the protocol has been inciting eruptions of shortage and weakening the relationship of Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. Due to the protocol, Northern Ireland must follow the EU’s single market for goods, meaning some extra checks for products crossing the Irish Sea from England, Scotland and Wales into Northern Ireland.


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