The British government on Wednesday called on the European Union to "
" and "
keep a sense of proportion
" in the face of the growing threat of a trade dispute arising from disagreements over post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.
London demands an in-depth renegotiation of the Northern Irish protocol concluded within the framework of Brexit, which keeps the British province de facto in the single European market.
Brussels refuses, proposing only adjustments, and the discussions held in recent weeks have remained deadlocked.
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Failing to obtain satisfaction, London threatened to resort to article 16 of the protocol allowing it to unilaterally suspend certain provisions.
In retaliation, the Europeans raised the possibility of suspending the free trade agreement in force since the beginning of the year, which made it possible to avoid in extremis a "
" potentially very painful economically.
I politely suggest to our European friends to stay calm and keep a sense of proportion,
" Brexit Secretary of State David Frost told the House of Lords. "
We are only likely to act in a way that is risky for everyone if the EU reacts disproportionately and decides to make the problems in Northern Ireland worse rather than reduce them,
" he said. he adds. He assured that the negotiations had not yet reached a point of no return. "
I am not going to abandon this process until it is clear that nothing can be done anymore
," he said, warning that if this were to be the case, "
the safeguard measures of the
article 16 will be our only option ”.
Ireland is working on emergency measures
Faced with the growing risk of trade conflict, Ireland, on the front line, said Tuesday to work on emergency measures by "
" the plan prepared in the event of "
" last year.
Read also Northern Ireland: Brussels warns against any renegotiation of post-Brexit rules
The protocol effective since the start of the year keeps the British province in the European customs union and single market, to prevent the return of a physical border to the island of Ireland which would risk weakening the peace agreement. 1998. The new measures disrupted supplies in Northern Ireland and angered unionists attached to staying in the United Kingdom, reviving community tensions.
London demands in particular the abolition of the right of scrutiny of the Court of Justice of the EU on its application, to replace it by "
an international arbitration
", an unacceptable modification for the Europeans.