UK renews threat to suspend parts of Northern Ireland Brexit deal ahead of talks – POLITICO

LONDON – The UK would be ready to trigger Article 16 and unilaterally bypass certain trade rules for Northern Ireland if upcoming negotiations with the EU fail, the UK’s new chief negotiator has said, Liz Truss.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, days before she met Maroš Šefčovič from the EU for face-to-face talks, Truss said: “My priority is to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland. I want a negotiated solution, but if we are to use legitimate provisions, including Article 16, I am ready to do so.

“This safeguard clause was explicitly designed – and accepted by all parties – to alleviate issues that are acute due to the sensitivity of the issues at stake,” she said.

Article 16 of the Brexit deal allows both sides to take unilateral action such as suspending trade controls between Britain and Northern Ireland if they conclude the protocol causes “serious economic hardship , societal or environmental “.

Šefčovič warned at the end of December that the whole deal with the UK would collapse if such rules were rescinded, saying the move would endanger the peace in Northern Ireland and be a “huge setback” for them. EU-UK relations.

Truss, who resumed negotiations after the resignation of David Frost, the former Cabinet Office minister, said on Sunday that she would “put forward our constructive proposals to resolve the situation”.

She will meet with Šefčovič on Thursday in Chevening, the residence of favor and favor of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Truss, widely seen as a future candidate for the Conservative leadership who will want to conquer the right wing of the party, also said she wanted “to end the role of the European Court of Justice as final arbiter of disputes” .

There had been signs before Christmas that the UK might soften its stance on the role of the EU’s highest court.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, EU Ambassador to the UK João Vale de Almeida said: “We have heard this from the government before, so we are not surprised.

“We’re not overly impressed, but we still think it’s not very helpful to continue to agitate on the Article 16 issue. I think what we should be focusing on … is to try.” to find solutions to the difficulties in the implementation of the protocol ”he said.

The European Commission said it had no comment on Truss’ comments.

This story has been updated with feedback.

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