EU unimpressed over Liz Truss’s post-Brexit threats
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The UK’s Foreign Secretary warned she was “willing” to use the “legitimate provisions” should a “negotiated solution” not be reached on the hotly-disputed Northern Ireland Protocol. But Joao Vale de Almeida, the EU’s ambassador to the UK, hit back, insisting it was unhelpful to “keep agitating the issue”, noting the bloc was not surprised by the threat but “we are not too impressed”. He said the focus should not be on triggering Article 16 of the protocol but instead “trying to find solutions for difficulties in the implementation” of the agreement.
However, the latest warning from the EU has been met by a furious response from Britons, who have urged Ms Truss to rip up the Brexit agreements with the bloc and walk away from negotiations.
Reacting to our initial story, SanjayP raged: “It is clear that the UK cannot have a relationship with the EU where the EU does not try and get control of our laws through alignment.
“This being the case, the UK Government should recognise it, say it publicly and terminate the WA, NIP and the TCA, including fishing agreement.
“Start with a clean break and then at the appropriate time, the UK and the EU could reach an agreement based on mutual respect and recognition.
“If not, WTO would be acceptable as a permanent solution.”
A fellow reader added: “WTO was always the best way to go.”
Several other readers urged Ms Truss to trigger Article 16 of the protocol, the safeguard that could lead to large parts of the deal being suspended.
Patricia wrote: “It’s become clear that the only way forward is to trigger Article 16.
“The EU will never negotiate in good faith. They will always want a hold over the UK.”
Another reader fumed: “Just get the trigger pulled and let the chips land where they may.
“We have all had enough of the EU now.”
Ms Truss had warned she is prepared to unilaterally override parts of the post-Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland if talks with the EU continue to end in stalemate.
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The Foreign Secretary said she will suggest “constructive proposals” when she meets European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic on Thursday for their first face-to-face talks.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, she warned: “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.
“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.”
But the EU responded by warning it was “not too impressed” with the threat from Ms Truss to override parts of the post-Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland if negotiations fail.
Mr Vale de Almeida told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “We’ve heard this before from the Government, so we’re not surprised. We are not too impressed.
“We still believe it’s not very helpful that we keep agitating the issue of Article 16.
“I think what we should focus on – at least that’s where we are focused on – is trying to find solutions for difficulties in the implementation of the protocol.”
He called for “new momentum” in the talks with Britain, adding: “We are eager to reconnect but we are even more eager to find compromises because we need to move on. It’s been too long.”
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