UK will never do it! EU laughs in Lord Frost’s face over Article 16 threat

Northern Ireland protocol ‘not the problem’ says EU ambassador

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Article 16 allows either the UK or the EU to take drastic action to mitigate the impact of the Protocol if they believe the conditions have been met – effectively tearing up parts of the deal negotiated by both sides. But Lord Frost will today tell the Tory party conference the threshold for triggering Article 16 to effectively tear up parts of the deal has been met.


The Brexit minister will today tell the conference full legal texts have been drafted to override the protocol, which came into effect 10 months ago. understands these plans will be presented to the European Commission later this week.

The European Commission will be urged to be more “ambitious” in their approach and warn that “tinkering at the edges” will not fix the fundamental problems with the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.

However, last night, European Commission sources insisted the UK Government was just making “unhelpful political threats”.


A Brussels source added: “We want to try and find solutions to the Protocol and are willing to work cooperatively to achieve this.

“But the UK threats to trigger Article 16 are certainly not a form of cooperation.”

The Irish Government also signalled they do not expect Britain to trigger the clause, with Ministers stressing it would undermine trust between the UK and EU.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told RTE: “My understanding is that the British government is not likely to trigger Article 16.

“It would be a hugely problematic backward step in relationships between the UK government and the EU institutions at a time actually when we are trying to build trust.”

The European Commission is also due to set out a package of measures to try and solve the problems of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the next few weeks.

These are expected to include radical changes to the licensing and distribution of medicines in the region, which involve the bloc changing its own laws.

The Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit deal, is aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland by effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

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It will see a raft of further checks on goods arriving in the region from Great Britain later this year.

But the Protocol is deeply unpopular with unionists and loyalists as it creates a trade border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and means EU rules governing trade in goods still apply in the region.

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