The EU warns the UK on the Northern Ireland agreement after negotiating fruitless


The European Union warned that if the UK suspends some of the agreements, it will have “serious consequences” for the UK. Northern Ireland Agreement, This is a key element of the Brexit agreement.

EU Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic told reporters in Brussels after several hours of fruitless talks with the Brexit Minister Lord David Frost on Friday: “There is no doubt that the trigger Article 16 -Seeking to renegotiate the agreement-will have serious consequences.

“It is serious for Northern Ireland because it will lead to instability and unpredictability. It is also serious for the EU’s overall relationship with the UK, because it means that the EU will refuse to seek a consensus solution for the implementation of the agreement. “

Over the past few months, Britain and the European Union have been deadlocked over post-Brexit trade rules. Northern IrelandAccording to the terms of the agreement, after the UK leaves the EU, the region will remain in the EU single commodity market to avoid setting up trade borders on the island of Ireland.

But the British government wants to rewrite the agreement, it insist it does not work. Sevcovic After Britain complained that the agreement had affected trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and caused riots in the union community, in October it proposed a plan to reduce inspections of cargo crossing the Irish Sea.

The European Union stated that its reforms will halve customs inspections of British products destined for Northern Ireland and reduce health inspections by 80%. But British officials say this is far from enough.

After the fruitless talks on Friday, Sevkovic said: “We have not seen any action from the British side. I find this disappointing and I once again urge the British government to contact us in good faith.”

According to a British spokesperson, Frost told Sefcovic that “the EU’s proposal currently does not effectively solve the fundamental difficulties in the way the protocol operates.”

“He added that in the UK’s view, these gaps can still be bridged through further in-depth discussions.”

Frost told reporters earlier that “Article 16 is very important.”

EU diplomats said that in recent weeks, member states have been discussing with the European Commission what countermeasures the EU might take if the UK fulfills its threat of invoking Article 16.

While some advocate targeted actions, such as more intensive customs and health checks to slow cross-channel trade, others support more dramatic moves to end the trade and cooperation agreement, which allows the EU and the United Kingdom Free trade in goods between tariffs and quotas.

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The UK will then have a year to decide whether to stick to the agreement and TCA, or trade in accordance with the terms of the World Trade Organization.

“If TCA [termination] It takes 12 months to take effect after being triggered. You start a new clock and a new deadline,” an EU diplomat said. “The member states don’t think there will be any progress in this negotiation. We are dealing with theorists. You cannot reason with them. “

Frost and Sefcovic will meet again in London on November 12 for talks, and both parties have hinted that this will be a success or failure meeting.

In addition, Downing Street announced that it has appointed Lord Jonathan Kane, an expert on Northern Ireland issues, as the junior minister of the Northern Ireland Office. He has served as a special adviser to six British Secretary of State in the region.

Additional report by Peter Foster



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