Brexit: Barnier says things will be 'more difficult' for UK
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Brexit tensions between the two bickering sides have soared to dangerous levels over recent weeks. Talks have been ongoing between UK Brexit minister Lord Frost and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic over a solution to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The stance from the UK on the Protocol has infuriated the European Union, who have threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it does not implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit deal.
Under the terms of the Brexit trade agreement struck at the end of last year, the UK and EU can impose tariffs on the other’s exports for breaching the pact, pending independent arbitration.
Brussels urged the UK to consider a Swiss-style veterinary agreement with the bloc on agri-foods to end a row over some goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland.
But Lord Frost insisted Britain will not adopt EU law on agri-foods to solve difficulties with post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland.
Alistair Jones, Associate Professor in Politics and University Teacher Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester, has launched a furious attack against the UK over its ongoing stubborn stance on the implementation of the Protocol.
He told Express.co.uk: “The UK has tried to bluff everything (for example, asking for extra time before enforcing the agreement).
“Lord Frost has suggested the EU is in the wrong by not allowing any flexibility. They do not need to, as the Protocol was approved by Parliament.
“Currently, the EU has the upper hand and holds all the cards. The UK will have to back down.”
Professor Jones warned if the UK fails to relax its stance on the implementation of the Protocol, the EU will have no hesitation or show any mercy in striking back with a vengeance.
He said: “Either the Protocol is enforced by the UK (and the EU has the right to oversee the enforcement, as laid down in both agreements), and the UK Government works out how to support the Northern Ireland economy without breaching Single Market rules), or the UK breaches the agreement, and the EU declares a dispute.
“All of this is clearly detailed in the Withdrawal Agreement and the Post-Brexit Trade Agreement.”
The politics expert also warned any other “third country” – as the UK is now known outside of the continental bloc – which has ratified an agreement but then breaches it, should expect to be punished.
But Professor Jones warned an attempt by the UK to retaliate against such an aggressive move from Brussels “would be a disaster”.
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He said: “This is not about punishing the UK over Brexit (as many Brexiteers have suggested).
“It is about a third country which has struck and ratified an agreement with the EU which then fails to implement the decision.
“Any third country trying to do this – even the USA or China – would be punished.
“Any attempt to retaliate would be a disaster.”
Professor Jones also warned the UK retaliating would not go down well with the rest of the world, possibly impacting on crunch talks with several other countries over the possibility of lucrative trade deals.
He concluded: “The rest of the world would see the UK making an agreement with the EU, then failing to abide by said agreement (even though it was ratified in the UK Parliament).
“They would subsequently see Britain trying to pick a fight because they do not like what they have agreed or were unaware of the consequences of said agreement.
“It will do nothing for the UK’s international credibility or the attempts to strike deals with other countries.”
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