'There's a gun on the table' EU 'very anxious' as Britain cocks trigger on hated deal


Britain has lost patience with the European Union over the the Northern Ireland Protocol and is ready to tear up a Brexit agreement which has caused deep divisions between the two sides. But this has infuriated the EU and governments throughout the bloc, who are outraged the UK is overriding an agreement it signed up to. This has prompted accusations Britain is breaking international law. Brussels has threatened to retaliate with every power available to it, sending fears surging towards the UK of an imminent brutal trade war.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin warned there has been “considerable frustration across Europe” over the threat to introduce legislation to override the protocol.

RTE Europe Editor Tony Connelly tweeted a lengthy thread, citing Mr Martin as saying: “They signed up to an international agreement and then issue statements talking about unilaterally undermining the same agreement. That doesn’t sit well.

“The European Union is very anxious to reach a conclusion, to negotiate through the [European] Commission to reach a settlement on the legitimate issues that have been raised in respect to the operation of the protocol in Northern Ireland.”

The political expert said the Irish Premier further attacked the move from Britain to unilaterally override parts of the protocol, warning it “flies in the face” of following rule of law and multilateral agreements.

Mr Martin reportedly said: “We’re for the rule of law, we’re for multilateral agreements with good international engagement.

“Unfortunately, the move by the United Kingdom government flies in the face of that, and that more than anything was frustrating to EU member states.

“There are mixed messages from the UK govt: on the one hand they’re saying, we’re anxious to get involved in negotiations but there’s a gun on the table, and on the other saying, if we don’t get the agreement we want we’re going to bring in legislation unilaterally anyway.

“That doesn’t create the right atmosphere for negotiations.”

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Mr Connelly further tweeted the Taoiseach said the UK and EU should return to technical talks on the Commission’s package of measures to reduce the burden of the protocol, which were presented in October.

The Irish Premier continued: “That represented a very significant advance on the EU’s previous position.

“It wasn’t reciprocated by the UK government. But the UK govt should come with detailed proposals particularly around the movement of goods from UK to NI that’s the biggest issue I found in Northern Ireland when I met with unionist parties and with other parties as well.”

Earlier this month, the UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss outlined planned unilateral action to introduce separate “green” and “red” lanes for goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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This would draw a line between those destined to remain within the UK and those heading to the Republic of Ireland and beyond.

It is believed there would be no crossover between the channels, with goods filtering through one or the other, depending on their intended destination.

The planned legislation will likely be put before MPs in the House of Commons over the next few weeks.

But the EU has warned it will retaliate in the strongest means possible should the UK press ahead with plans to unilaterally override the protocol.

This has sparked fears of a brutal trade war between the two sides at a time when tens of millions of people throughout the UK are already struggle with a cost of living crisis.

Earlier this week, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte was speaking alongside Mr Martin at a press event in Dublin, and appeared to warn Boris Johnson of possible repercussions.

He said the Netherlands and other 26 members of the EU “fully support” the work of European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, who has been leading the bloc’s negotiations on the matter.

Mr Rutte said: “We will keep on working with him and his team to make sure that we somehow find a way out of this.

“But if this is not possible, we also have to take our next steps and think about those.

“I don’t want to guess as to what they could be, because I don’t think that is helpful, but I think Boris Johnson and the UK know very well what the next steps could be. Let’s hope we don’t come to that.”



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