Ireland has begun making contingency plans for a possible trade war between the EU and the UK in case Boris Johnson’s government triggers Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
According to Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, the EU’s likely response to Britain suspending the Protocol would be to withdraw last year’s UK-EU trade deal.
This could lead to the imposition of tariffs and quotas on British goods entering the EU and vice versa.
The Guardian reports Varadkar’s comments yesterday that if Britain resigned from the protocol “the European Union would have no option other than to introduce what we call rebalancing measures to respond”.
The Irish Cabinet’s Brexit sub-committee met on Monday to “essentially dust down and restart contingency preparations” in case a trade war develops with the UK, reports the Irish Times.
Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill has urged the British government to “remove its threat” to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and to “dial down the rhetoric”, the BBC reports.
The comments came after O’Neill and first minister Paul Givan held virtual talks with the UK’s EU relations minister Lord Frost yesterday.
O’Neill linked the “incendiary language” around the Protocol discussions to “street disorder”, the Standard reports.
In the past ten days, two buses have been hijacked and set ablaze in Northern Ireland, and there have been inter-community clashes in Belfast.
“What we need to find is solutions and stability, certainly not another period of instability, uncertainty, and all that that brings with it,” said O’Neill.
Lord Frost and his Brussels counterpart Maros Sefcovic are due to meet in London on Friday for further Protocol talks.
You can read more about the potential ramifications of the UK triggering Article 16 for bother trade with the EU and Northern Ireland here.