Former Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson claimed triggering Article 16 could force the EU to cave during negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol. The European Commission tabled a range of proposals aimed at cutting the red tape the arrangements have imposed on moving goods from Great Britain to the region on Wednesday.
However, the plan did not address a key UK demand – the removal of the European Court of Justice’s oversight function in the operation of the protocol.
Mr Robinson said triggering the clause, which allows either side to unilaterally suspend aspects of the protocol, would “achieve” the UK “goal” of bringing “much more movement” from the EU.
He added: “What gets me most is the irrational political prejudice and overbearing haughtiness of the EU, who think that it is a greater priority to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland than between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom of which we are part.”
Mr Robinson, a veteran DUP politician who led Northern Ireland from 2008 until 2016, concluded by saying the EU must “go back to the drawing board” over the post-Brexit trading arrangements.
He added the EU was also completely ignoring “the constitutional, legal, and democratic implications of the protocol and seems to think it is only the trading element of the protocol that needs to be considered.”
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