Boris Johnson warned 'nuclear' Article 16 option to spark immediate EU retaliation

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Boris Johnson warned 'nuclear' Article 16 option to spark immediate EU retaliation

BBC’s Adam Fleming has warned Boris Johnson of EU retaliation if the new negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol go south, saying the UK is

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BBC’s Adam Fleming has warned Boris Johnson of EU retaliation if the new negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol go south, saying the UK is in for another couple of weeks, maybe a month of quite intense negotiations.” Brexit minister Lord Frost proposed plans to replace the existing protocol on Tuesday in Brussels, which has left the EU frustrated with attempts to reopen the talks.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Fleming said: “Now the UK Government is just finding ‘the protocol’ intolerable.

“They think it’s bad for business. They think it is stoking up tensions within the communities in Northern Ireland. 

“And so yesterday in a speech in Lisbon Lord Frost the Brexit minister called for the protocol to be scrapped and replaced by a completely new arrangement.

“That is not quite what the EU is prepared to do.”

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He went on: “Today we’re going to get proposals from them to tweak the existing deal and to just implement it in a more relaxed way. 

“And the EU thinks that that is actually going quite a long way towards the UK.

“The UK thinks it’s not going far enough.

“What this means in the short term, though, is that we’re in for another couple of weeks, maybe a month of quite intense negotiations.”

Mr Fleming continued: “And then I think in the middle of November, both sides will decide what to do.

“And if it’s gone badly, well then we can see the UK doing the so-called ‘nuclear option’, where they just by themselves, stop applying bits of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland, which might provoke a bit of a retaliation from the EU.

“Or this might be classic negotiating, where there’s a bit of bluster, a bit of movement, and then everyone agrees to disagree in the end.

The EU and UK agreed to a special deal in 2019 for Northern Ireland, known as the protocol.

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The EU and UK agreed to a special deal in 2019 for Northern Ireland, known as the protocol.

This means goods can flow freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, removing the threat of a “hard border”.

Article 16 of the protocol sets out the process for taking unilateral “safeguard” measures if either the EU or UK concludes that the operation of the deal is leading to serious problems.

Lord Frost argued for a complete make-over of the protocol, saying the clause regulating Northern Ireland’s relationship with both the UK and the EU “needs to change”.

However, the EU might not agree with what the UK is asking for.



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