Brexit: NI protocol issue could negatively affect Irish economy
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Boris Johnson’s threat of invoking Article 16 is starting to hit home among EU member-states, according to GB News Northern Ireland reporter Dougie Beattie. He explained that the Irish economy could lose the most out of all those involved if the Northern Ireland protocol is not resolved. This comes amid mounting concern about an imminent Brexit trade war between the EU and the UK over the protocol.
Mr Beattie explained the two reasons why the EU is hesitant about getting into a trade war with Britain.
He told GB News last night: “The EU doesn’t want to get into a trade war with Britain, and Britain doesn’t want to get into a trade war with the EU.
“Stormont faces an election in the next six months here, and there are concerns in Europe.
“The EU will not want an anti-protocol majority, so they are softening slightly.”
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GB News Northern Ireland reporter continued: “The second problem for the EU here is if trade war starts, Germany will lose out in it.
“Their second-biggest trading partner in the world is Britain.
“Britain will lose out in it, but the economy that will lose the most out of it is the Republic of Ireland.
“It depends on £65bn of trade going both ways in between Britain and itself every year.
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“If a trade war started, £65bn would be a lot for them to lose out of a £388bn GDP.
“Talks continue but Lord Frost has still not taken off the table out the issue of Article 16.”
On Friday, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg reported that Boris Johnson “looks set to trigger” Article 16 in the latest escalation in his row with the EU.
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On the same day, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič met with his British counterpart Lord David Frost in London.
Mr Šefčovič said he was hopeful the two sides could make progress next week.
However, Lord Frost said there were still “significant gaps” to be bridged between the bloc and the UK, and that talks would be “intensified”.
In a statement, a UK government spokesperson said the preference “remained to find a consensual way forward”, but that Article 16 was a “legitimate safeguard”.
The European Commission is set to circulate a paper to European capitals next week setting out the options available if the UK triggers Article 16.
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