BREXIT “NUCLEAR OPTION” READY – “Intensive talks” commence between UK and EU negotiators on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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  • To avoid invoking Article 16, Lord Frost has promised to begin “intensive talks” with the EU about Brexit after Brussels unveiled its intentions for the Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • Lord Frost is prepared to employ the “nuclear option” if a deal cannot be reached. Once the triggering of Article 16 is fired, the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement will fall.
  • “While the EU’s proposals address several of Lord Frost’s criteria, they do not remove the European Court of Justice’s role in monitoring the Protocol’s implementation.
  • One of Brexit’s red lines was to have no court involvement.

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To avoid invoking Article 16, Lord Frost has promised to begin “intensive talks” with the EU about Brexit after Brussels unveiled its intentions for the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

The Brexit minister is gearing up for a flurry of crunch talks with the bloc in an effort to resolve the issues raised by the Protocol. 

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Lord Frost is prepared to employ the “nuclear option” if a deal cannot be reached. Once the triggering of Article 16 is fired, the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement will fall. 

Tomorrow morning, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic plans to fly to London for meetings. 

In three weeks, the UK will decide whether or not they see a route forward in the negotiations. 

The government stated: “The next step should be intensive talks on both our sets of proposals, rapidly conducted, to determine whether there is common ground to find a solution.”

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“Significant changes which tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a durable settlement which commands support in Northern Ireland.”

“We must find a future solution that can be supported by all parties, that protects the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, and that strengthens the UK-EU partnership. When it comes to working hard, “we are ready.” 

The Protocol has produced problems for people and businesses in Northern Ireland, and Mr Sefcovic outlined a set of measures this evening to address those issues. 

An “Alternative model” was proposed to reduce commercial frictions between the United Kingdom and the province, he said. 

In his words, the eurocrat, “We have put a lot of hard work into this package. We have explored every possible angle of the Protocol and, at times, went beyond current EU law..”

“In effect, we are proposing an alternative model for implementation of the protocol.”

“On the one hand, the flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be facilitated for goods that are to stay in Northern Ireland.”

“On the other, robust safeguards and monitoring mechanisms should be put in place to make sure that they stay in Northern Ireland.”

While the EU’s proposals address several of Lord Frost’s criteria, they do not remove the European Court of Justice’s role in monitoring the Protocol’s implementation. 

One of Brexit’s red lines was to have no court involvement. 

As a “starting point” tonight, Unionists welcomed the EU’s ideas but stated that on first sight, they would appear to “fell far short of the fundamental transformation needed.” 

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP’s leader, said: “It is vital this new round of negotiations does not become another missed opportunity to make fundamental change and to replace the protocol.”

“Short-term fixes will not solve the problems that have beset the United Kingdom internal market.”

“These proposals clearly fall a long way short of being the basis of a sustainable solution and are presented within the framework of a protocol that has failed.”

The deputy leader of the Conservatives’ European Research Group also warned that the proposals were insufficient. 

“We can’t leave it with simply a bit of tinkering at the edges,” said the deputy leader.

“What they appear to be suggesting is that they would apply the protocol in the way that we thought they would be applying it at the outset.”

“So it’s quite clear that they are not beyond using the protocol as a weapon against the UK, and I frankly wouldn’t trust them not to do the same again.”

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