Even though EU Vice President Maros Sefcovic threatened “serious consequences” if Britain were to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is to counter with the promise to overhaul the NI Protocol unilaterally if a “negotiated solution” with Brussels can’t be found.
According to the Telegraph, Liz Truss will insist Britain will single-handedly overhaul the post-Brexit agreement regarding NI if the EU refuses to play ball to find a solution.
This tough talk comes before the two meet on Thursday, where Ms Truss and Maros Sefcovic speak face-to-face at Chevening, the Foreign Secretary’s country residence.
The EU was hoping the UK Government had shelved the threat to trigger article 16 due to the Political scandals prior to the Christmas break. This play or bust approach from Britain may prove to concentrate minds after the EU refused to make concessions in previous meetings.
On the run-up to the Thursday meeting, Truss told the Telegraph: “My priority is to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland. I want a negotiated solution, but if we have to use legitimate provisions including Article 16, I am willing to do that.”
“This safeguard clause was explicitly designed – and agreed to by all sides – to ease acute problems because of the sensitivity of the issues at play.”
“The EU has already invoked this article to introduce a hard border for vaccine exports and, even in the act of withdrawing it, insisted on its right to do so again in the future.”
Though Truss was thought to be taking a softer stance on negotiations due to her remainer stance during the Brexit referendum, Ms Truss said she’ll be continuing many of Lord Frosts specific demands.
Truss added: “I am prepared to work night and day to negotiate a solution. But let me be clear, I will not sign up to anything which sees the people of Northern Ireland unable to benefit from the same decisions on taxation and spending as the rest of the UK, or which still sees goods moving within our own country being subject to checks.”
Ms Truss Ends with: “we need to end the role of the European Court of Justice as the final arbiter of disputes.”
An EU ambassador who will also take part in the talks on Thursday told the Telegraph: “The EU is focused on finding practical solutions for the problems Brexit created in Northern Ireland and which the protocol aims to mitigate. Invoking Article 16 or raising issues which are not the core concern of citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland will not contribute to solving problems. It will only create more problems by prolonging uncertainty and risking further instability in Northern Ireland.”