David Frost (AFP / François WALSCHAERTS), British Foreign Secretary for Brexit in Brussels on October 15, 2021
The British government on Wednesday called on the European Union (EU) to “remain calm” and “keep a sense of proportion” in the face of the threat of trade disputes over post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.
London demands an in-depth renegotiation of the Northern Irish Protocol concluded within the framework of Brexit, which will put the British province into practice in a single European market.
Brussels denies, only proposes changes, and the debates that have taken place in recent weeks have been stagnant.
Failing to obtain satisfaction, London threatened to seek Article 16 of the Code, which allows the unilateral suspension of certain rules. In response, Europeans raised the possibility of suspending the free trade agreement in force from the beginning of this year, which made it possible in extremism to avoid the economically very painful “no deal”.
“I humbly recommend to our European friends to remain calm and to maintain a sense of proportion,” Brexit Secretary of State David Frost told the House of Lords.
“We can all act dangerously only if the EU acts proportionately and decides to aggravate the problems in Northern Ireland rather than reduce them,” he added.
He assured that the talks have not yet reached an irreversible stage. “I’m not going to abandon this process until it is clear that nothing more can be done,” he said, warning that if so, “Section 16 security measures are our only option.”
Faced with a growing risk of trade conflict, Ireland said on Tuesday it would work to “dust off” the plan, which was prepared at last year’s “No Contract” event.
In a series of calls on Wednesday with representatives of various Northern Irish parties, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Michael Martin, underlined the EU’s commitment to resolving the real problems of implementation. His services said in a statement that he had stressed the need to give “every chance of success” to the discussions between Brussels and London.
The protocol, which has been in force since 1998, prohibits the withdrawal of the British province from the European Union and the single market to the island of Ireland.
The new measures disrupted supplies in Northern Ireland and angered trade unionists based in the United Kingdom, re-creating social tensions.
London in particular is demanding the abolition of the EU Court’s right to hear, instead of an “international arbitrator”, a change that is unacceptable to Europeans.
gmo-spe / fjb