Brexit deadlock deepens: EU warns about’serious implications’ if UK suspends Northern Ireland protocol. Lord Frost claims that the UK has made ‘limited progress’ after talks with Maros Sepcovic in Brussels

  • Lord Frost and Eu’s Maross Sefcovic have discussed the NI protocol at Brussels
  • Mr Sefcovic warned about’serious implications’ if the UK suspends rules
  • Lord Frost stated that there has been “limited” progress and that they will meet again next week 

After failing to reach a breakthrough in talks, the EU warned that there would be’severe consequences’ if Britain suspends the Northern Ireland protocol.

Lord Frost met Maros Sefcovic at Brussels as they attempt to find a way out the increasingly bitter impasse surrounding post-Brexit rules. 

However, the vice-president of the commission stated that he was disappointed that there has not been a ‘big move from the UK. He said that the round of talks in London next week would be crucial. 

He fired a shot across Britain’s bows, after Lord Frost reiterated that Article 16 – which would effectively remove the Northern Ireland divorce rules – was ‘on the agenda’.  

Mr Sefcovic stated at a press conference that ‘to date we have not seen any move at all from UK side. This is disappointing. I urge the UK government once more to be honest with us. 

“We hear a lot of Article 16 at the moment. It is clear that Article 16 triggering to request the renegotiation would have serious implications. 

The EU claims it has already ‘bent over backwards’ to make concessions regarding the implementation of the protocol.

However, there are still major disagreements, including over the role of European Court of Justice in any dispute. Loyalists want to see the new arrangements scrapped. They claim it has contributed to sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland.  

Lord Frost repeated that invoking Article 16 - which would essentially remove the divorce rules for Northern Ireland - is 'on the table'

Lord Frost reiterated that Article 16 – which would effectively remove Northern Ireland’s divorce rules – was ‘on the table.

Lord Frost has met Maros Sefcovic (pictured) in Brussels as they try to find a way through the increasingly bitter impasse over post-Brexit rules

Lord Frost met Maros Sfcovic (pictured) in Brussels to try and find a way out of the increasingly bitter impasse regarding post-Brexit rules

A UK government readout of the meet said Lord Frost had ‘underlined that progress had been limited and that the EU’s proposals did not currently deal effectively with the fundamental difficulties in the way the protocol was operating’. 

“He also stated that, according to the UK view, these gaps could still been bridged through further intensive talks,” the statement read.

‘He underlined that the UK’s preference was still to find a consensual solution that protected the Belfast (Good Friday) agreement and the everyday lives of people in Northern Ireland.

The pair also had an informal discussion about the fisheries policies, with France’s row being another potential factor in causing tensions. 

The protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland within the EU’s single goods market to avoid a hard border.

Some products that cross the Irish Sea from the British mainland have been subject to checks, which resulted in the closure of the single market.

Lord Frost stated earlier that he would not immediately trigger Article 16, which would allow certain parts of the deal be suspended.

The new arrangements have been blamed for fuelling sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland as loyalists demand it is scrapped altogether. Pictured, protests in Belfast on Tuesday

The new arrangements have been blamed in Northern Ireland for increasing sectarian tensions. Loyalists are demanding that they be scrapped. Pictured: Tuesday protests in Belfast

He stated, “We are not going to trigger Article 16 now, but Article 16 remains very much on our table and has been since August.”

“If we can come to an agreement on the protocol that provides sustainable solutions, then that’s the best path forward.”

He claimed that the difficulties he faced were the reason he was able to use the mechanism.

The Brexit minister previously stated that he expected the issues surrounding the protocol to be resolved ‘one or another’ this fall.

The UK wants the European Court of Justice to be removed from oversight, something Brussels has stated is impossible.