BBC’s Katya Adler lifts lid on EU’s plan of attack if UK pulls Article 16 trigger

Brexit: Lord Frost hits out at EU over Northern Ireland Protocol

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The tweet outlines what preparations have been put in place by the EU should the decision be made by the UK. Ms Adler tweeted: “EU diplomat on today‘s Brexit discussion amongst representatives of EU 27+EU Commission: ‘The EU is preparing for the triggering of Article 16 by the UK.

“’There is consensus among the EU that such an arbitrary and unjustified move by the UK will be met with a clear European response.’

“Diplomat adds that there is still hope -but that it’s waning – that negotiations with the UK over the Protocol could be successful.

“He said EU retaliation if the UK triggers article 16 would depend on what the UK plans to do.”

She added: “Would UK government trigger article 16 to please a domestic audience but continue to apply checks on goods on the ground?

“Would the UK reduce checks or abandon the protocol altogether?

“In each of those scenarios, the EU response would differ.

“There are lots of options on the table, the diplomat told me, but each one of them would hurt the UK.

“This EU diplomat, as others I’ve spoken to, dismiss the government’s stated position that results of the Protocol on the ground in Northern Ireland were unforeseen.”

This comes as Lord David Frost told the House of Lords on Wednesday that triggering Article 16 would be the “only option” if talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol did not progress.

The Brexit Secretary told the UK’s “European friends” to “stay calm and keep things in proportion” during his speech in the Lords.

According to ITV, he said that “the risks of Article 16 being imposed or being triggered and the response to Article 16 by the European Union, potentially leading to all the complicated negotiations with the prospect of a no-deal as the last stage.

“That is one end of the spectrum.

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“The other end of the spectrum, which I think we can’t rule out, and I certainly wouldn’t want to rule out, although I must say that the prospects are not looking brilliant at the moment, is for a negotiated settlement to be reached between now and Christmas or over Christmas.

“I don’t think we can rule that out.”

Ms Adler added in further tweets: “The EU view is that the Protocol clearly envisaged checks between GB-NI.

“The EU adds that it has since listened to the complaints of people and businesses in Northern Ireland and has, it says, come up with flexible solutions.

“UK Government insists the EU is still not going far enough to make the Protocol workable.”

She concluded: “In EU circles when discussing the Protocol and UK possibly triggering article 16 – then the EU fears that would embolden China and Russia in their dealings with the bloc.

“It could also embolden member states already viewed as recalcitrant e.g. Poland/Hungary.

“Clearly though if EU eventually decided to suspend whole Trade and Co-operation agreement with UK – for example if UK government were to abandon the Protocol altogether – that would be costly economically for EU too but consensus in Brussels is that EU wants to be seen to be prepared to take robust action IF UK action viewed in EU as extreme too.”

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