Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
EU may shelve free-trade pact with UK if article 16 deployed
The European Union may set aside the free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom if London triggers article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol and suspends its operation, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Mr Coveney said the EU "would respond in a very serious way" if the UK invokes article 16 of the protocol, effectively putting on hold the operation agreement on Northern Ireland between the EU and the UK.

He said the free-trade agreement between the two depends on the protocol being operated by London.

"One is contingent on the other. So that if one is being set aside, there is a danger that the other will also be set aside by the EU," Mr Coveney told RTÉ's This Week programme. He said he hoped the dispute would not escalate into a trade war between the two, but that the EU would conclude that the UK is not operating in good faith if article 16 is invoked.

He said he needed to be blunt in his warnings to London that suspension of the protocol would not be viewed as a minor issue by the EU. Mr Coveney added that the British government should not underestimate the impact in Brussels of triggering article 16.

He said it is not a "technical issue" but would be seen in Brussels as "deliberately forcing a breakdown in relations and negotiations between the two sides".

Mr Coveney added: "I think they are deliberately asking for what they know they can't get." He said of the British approach to the talks that "the negotiating tactic of the prime minister and [UK chief Brexit negotiator] Lord Frost has been very consistent - it has been to offer nothing, [but] to continually ask for more".

Mr Coveney said it is "increasingly the view across the EU" that the British side is seeking to collapse negotiations. The British government, he said, is seeking to "rewrite the protocol entirely when they know that the EU can't, and won't, do that".

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 7th, 2021 at 07:54:03 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series