Today, the EU claimed that it is preparing a retaliation package to stop Boris Johnson’s threats of suspending the Northern Ireland Protocol.

According to Brussels insiders, the bloc has begun to prepare measures to be quickly implemented and will present these to the UK in negotiations to increase ‘leverage. 

The proposal is to ban British fishing vessels from EU waters. 

Simon Coveney (Irish foreign minister) turned up heat by warning that all of the post-Brexit trade deals could be’set aside’ if Britain invokes Article 16 in order to stop checks between Northern Ireland, mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

But, this process may take some time. Brussels is exploring ways to get revenge more quickly.  

Mujtaba Raman, an ex-aide to the Treasury and EU commission, now consults on geopolitical danger. 

Maros Sefcovic

Lord Frost

The impasse in the EU was broken last week by the meeting of Lord Frost (right), and Maros Sezovic (left). They are scheduled to continue talks in London this Friday

An anti-protocol sign on a lamppost in the Rathcoole housing estate of Newtownabbey, County Antrim

A lamppost with an anti-protocol sign in Newtownabbey’s Rathcoole estate, County Antrim

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill, deputy first minister at Stormont, urged the UK to 'dial down the rhetoric' after a virtual meeting with Lord Frost today

Michelle O’Neill from Sinn Fein, the deputy first minister at Stormont asked the UK to “dial down the rhetoric” after today’s virtual meeting with Lord Frost

Maros Sefcovic could offer Lord Frost the options when they meet Friday.

“To prevent UKG from activating Article 16, EU has prepared a set of short/medium-term retaliatory actions which will be presented to @DavidGHFrost on Friday by @MarosSefcovic,” Mr Rahman stated.

Threats would include’short term tariff retaliation prior to arbitration proceedings’.

Rahman claimed that although Mr Sefcovid believed more flexibility would work initially, he now supports a tougher approach. He had the backing of Ursula von der Leyen who is also president of the Commission. 

Downing Street revealed today that Lord Frost has spoken to the French Europe minister Clement Beaune.

According to a spokesperson for No 10, the discussion covered both the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit Withdrawal agreement and post-Brexit fish rights.

A spokesman for the men said that they are likely to talk again this week.

Michelle O’Neill from Sinn Fein, the deputy first minister in Stormont, has urged Britain to “dial down the rhetoric” after today’s virtual meeting with Lord Frost.

In incidents related to protocol opposition, two buses were hijacked in Northern Ireland loyalist regions and set on fire.

Two nights ago, there were clashes in West Belfast at the community interface that involved youths from both nationalist Springfield Road and loyalist Shankill Road/Lanark Way.

Ms O’Neill claimed Lord Frost didn’t confirm that her Government would certainly suspend the protocol. This was triggered by Article 16 of this mechanism.

She also cited repeated threats by the Government to suspend the suspension as one of the factors in the increase in tensions which have led to the outbreaks disorder.

‘I’ve made it very clear to him that it’s time to dial down the rhetoric, that the wider community here want solutions, they want to make the protocol work, they want us to iron out the issues that need to be resolved but they certainly don’t want to see the spill out of the language, the incendiary language actually from the British Government and the DUP, that’s now spilling out on to our streets and we now see street disorder – none of us want that,’ said Ms O’Neill.

Mr Coveney said on Sunday that there will be ‘very serious’ consequences if the Article 16 mechanism is triggered.

He stressed that Brussels could do a “little more” to facilitate the implementation, but Mr. Coveney stated that the terms of the trade agreement were ‘contingent on respecting the divorcing terms. 

The impasse did not end last week after Lord Frost and Mr Sefcovic met. 

It claims that it already “bent over backwards” to accept concessions about the implementation of protocol. This was part of Withdrawal Agreement.

There are still key differences, however, over issues such as the European Court of Justice’s role in disputes. Loyalists want to see the new arrangement scrapped. They claim it has contributed to sectarian tensions within Northern Ireland.  

Coveney said that the EU was currently in a’solutions mode’. He wanted the EU to take all steps to simplify the checks for goods that move from Britain to Northern Ireland.

RTE Radio contacted him to inform them that the EU had a limit on its flexibility. After Lord Frost insists the protocol should not be suspended, he said that he was critical of the UK’s hardline. 

He complained about Britain asking him for too much, but offering little in return.

Mujtaba Rahman, a former EU commission and Treasury aide who now advises on geopolitical risk, said one senior official had told him: 'In order to avoid escalation, you have to demonstrate escalation dominance.'

Mujtaba Raman, an ex-aide to the Treasury and EU commission, now consults on geopolitical danger.

Protests in Belfast last week, amid fears the protocol is fuelling sectarian tensions

Last week saw protests in Belfast amid concerns that the protocol was fuelling sectarian tensions