The Irish ‘make preparations’ for possible EU-UK trade war – POLITICO

DUBLIN – The European Commission could suspend the Brexit trade agreement if Britain stops enforcing EU rules in Northern Irish ports, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.

Varadkar said the Irish government’s Brexit commission had reconvened “to dust off and restart our contingency preparations” for a potential suspension of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement, which was agreed in December 2020.

Asked whether Ireland was ready for a possible trade war with Britain, it replied topmarket for the export of food and drink, Varadkar told RTÉ radio in Dublin: “We are preparing.”

Varadkar – who was Ireland’s prime minister during most of the Brexit negotiations and is set to regain the top post in December 2022 – said the British seemed keen to unravel last year’s treaty deals.

“I do not think anyone wants to see the EU suspend the trade and cooperation agreement with Britain,” Varadkar said. “But if Britain were to act in such a way that it was backward from [Northern Ireland] protocol, which is in breach of the withdrawal agreement, the European Union would have no choice but to introduce what we call rebalancing measures in order to respond. “

“I really hope Britain does not go this route [Boris] Johnson always talked about wanting Brexit implemented, “he said.” Brexit is kind of done. But this potentially regrets it. “

In Northern Ireland, British Unionist and Irish nationalist leaders of the British region’s power-sharing government made polarized demands during a video conference with Britain’s top Brexit negotiator, David Frost.

Prime Minister Paul Givan – whose Democratic Unionist Party supported Brexit but abhors Northern Ireland trade rules agreed by Frost and Johnson – said he still expects Britain to trigger Article 16 of the Protocol Treaty and halt at least some controls on British goods arriving at the ports of Belfast and Larne.

But Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin accused both Frost and Givan of the DUP of issuing anti-protocol threats that outraged unionist militants. Two buses have been hijacked and burned in the past week in Belfast and the eastern suburb of Newtownards, which has led to the partial suspension of bus connections in some unionist districts.

“Tory threats and rhetoric are ruthless and contrary to widespread public opinion,” said O’Neill in a tweet after the meeting. “Most parties, people and companies want an urgent solution to make the protocol work better. [The] the burden is on him [Frost] to go up and deliver it. “

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