Remainers have expressed displeasure with predictions that the ongoing dispute between the EU and the United Kingdom will most likely result in a “no-deal Brexit.”
Lord David Frost has threatened to suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol under Article 16 of the Brexit agreement, claiming that EU initiatives to relieve trade concerns are insufficient.
If that happens, the EU has threatened “severe consequences,” with some anticipating that the organisation may delay further post-Brexit trade deals.
Lord Frost threatened to use Article 16 once again on Friday, saying it was “very much on the table.”
“We hope to make some progress,” he remarked, “but let’s see where we can get to.”
“We’re not going to trigger Article 16 today, but Article 16 is very much on the table and has been since July.”
“Time is running out on these talks if we are to make progress.”
EU Commissioner Maro Sefcovic responded by threatening the UK with “severe consequences” if the Brexit accord is suspended.
“I found this disappointing, and once again, I urge the UK Government to engage with us sincerely,” he added.
“From this perspective, I see next week as an important one. We should focus all efforts on reaching a solution as soon as possible.”
“Our aim should be to establish stability and predictability for Northern Ireland.”
“At the present, we’re hearing a lot about Article 16, but there’s no question that using it to seek Protocol negotiations would have major ramifications.”
“It would be terrible for Northern Ireland because it would cause instability and unpredictability, and it would be problematic for EU-UK relations in general because it would represent a rejection of EU attempts to find a consensual solution to the Protocol’s implementation.”
Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol authorises the EU and the UK to adopt unilateral “safeguard measures,” suspending sections of the agreement if it creates “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties.”
Suspending the Protocol, Sir John Major cautioned, would be risky and “colossally stupid.”
“I think it would be colossally stupid to do that,” the former Prime Minister said on BBC Radio 4’s Today.
“To use Article 16, to suspended parts of the Protocol, would be absurd.
“Lord Frost and the Prime Minister continue to criticise this Protocol week after week.”
“Whose miserable Protocol was it that was negotiated? The Prime Minister and Lord Frost They negotiated it, signed it, and now they want to throw it out.”