The Brexit negotiations between Liz Truss and Maros Sefcovic will continue tomorrow as tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol have reached a boiling point.
The Foreign Secretary and the Vice President of the EU Commission will meet tomorrow, Thursday, May 12, in an attempt to reach a deal after the UK government threatened to abandon the Brexit Protocol.
In the latest escalation between the two sides, Britain warned on Wednesday that it would not hesitate to take measures to settle post-Brexit trade problems in Northern Ireland as it rejected European Union offers to end the deadlock.
For months, London and Brussels have been attempting to break the gridlock on the Northern Ireland protocol, a pact that London negotiated before leaving the EU and now claims is untenable.
To protect Northern Ireland’s open land border with EU Member State Ireland, the agreement effectively established a customs border in the water between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Liz Truss said on Wednesday that EU suggestions to reconsider border inspections on goods going between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland “failed to address the core problem” and “would take us backward in some cases.”
In her statement, Liz said, “Prices have risen, trade is being badly disrupted, and the people of Northern Ireland are subject to different laws and taxes than those over the Irish Sea, which has left them without an Executive and poses a threat to peace and stability,” She said in a statement.
“The answer cannot be more checks, paperwork and disruption. Our preference has always been for a negotiated solution but (we) will not shy away from taking action to stabilise the situation in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found.”
People have said that if no agreement can be reached, Britain could suspend some of the Protocol’s rules on its own. This could lead to the suspension of the free trade agreement at a time when inflation is going up and worries about a recession in Britain this year are growing.
European capitals are already worried about the rising rhetoric. On Wednesday, the EU negotiator Maros Sefcovic said that the international treaty will not be renegotiated.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove has said that the United Kingdom would continue to engage with the EU to address concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol, but that “no option is off the table.”
When asked on BBC Breakfast if the government planned to rip up the deal, Mr Gove said: “No. We are going to negotiate with the EU in order to get the best possible outcome for the people of Northern Ireland, but no option is off the table.
“Liz Truss will be meeting Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president, tomorrow. They have a good relationship. They will try to make progress tomorrow. I know that both of them are fully committed to making sure we resolve some very difficult issues that have arisen.
“You would expect a UK Government when it is thinking about the security of the entire United Kingdom to say that there is no option that is off the table and that is absolutely right.”