If the UK suspends the Northern Ireland Agreement, the EU “has no choice” but to retaliate


The Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland warned that if the United Kingdom continues to threaten to suspend part of the Northern Ireland Brexit agreement in the next few days, the EU will have “no choice” but to retaliate.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that Ireland has begun to “reduce” emergency preparedness to prevent London from unilaterally taking action to suspend certain parts of the so-called Northern Ireland agreement, which intensifies concerns that the Brexit disagreement may trigger a trade war between the EU and the UK. .

Relations between London and Brussels are rapidly deteriorating as the UK seeks to rewrite the post-Brexit Northern Ireland trade agreement that will leave the region in the EU’s customs union and single market to prevent Ireland from restoring the North-South trade border

Britain now calls this arrangement “unsustainable” but agreed to retain the landmark 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended a 30-year sectarian conflict. All the major Protestant union parties in the region rejected the agreement, saying these arrangements undermined their position in the UK.

London says Brussels made concessions last month Reduce the impact of inspections on cargo The new customs border crossing the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is not far enough.

Varadka told RTÉ on Tuesday that if the UK Trigger Article 16 Under the terms of the agreement to unilaterally suspend key parts of the transaction, the European Commission may be forced to cancel the post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement.

However, this tough stance has split the EU member states.France and other countries Ireland It is pushing for tougher measures, but EU officials and diplomats have played down claims of preemptive measures against the UK. “We are not there yet,” an official said.

The Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic will brief the EU ambassador and members of the European Parliament on Wednesday before meeting with the Brexit Secretary Lord David Frost.

“I don’t think anyone wants to see the EU suspend its trade and cooperation agreement with the United Kingdom, but if the United Kingdom acts in a way that withdraws from the agreement and withdraws from the withdrawal agreement, I think European Union has no choice but to… Respond,” Radka said.

Legal experts said that the UK’s decision to suspend some Northern Ireland agreements will undermine the basis for the EU to agree to a zero-tariff and zero-quota trade agreement.

“If the UK cancels the substantive provisions of the withdrawal agreement, the EU may argue that this gives them a reason to terminate the agreement. [the TCA],” said Catherine Barnard, professor of EU law at the University of Cambridge.

Frost has stated since July that it has reached the use of proof Article 16 The economic and political chaos caused by the protocol.

A diplomat described Frost and Sevkovic’s meeting in Brussels last week as “cold” and “the worst meeting they have ever seen.” .. They are just talking about each other”.

Senior EU diplomats stated that there is a growing consensus among member states that if the UK resorts to Article 16, it cannot “business as usual”. “Short-term measures have not yet been decided, but the possible suspension of TCA will be discussed,” an EU diplomat said.



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