EU unimpressed over Liz Truss’s post-Brexit threats
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The politician is fielding questions from MPs today in her role as Minister for Women and Equalities. Ms Truss is appearing in the House of Commons before Boris Johnson takes Prime Minister’s Questions. The Foreign Secretary was recently appointed as the UK’s lead negotiator with the EU in the post-Brexit talks. She took over the Brexit brief after the resignation of her predecessor Lord Frost in December.
Ms Truss is known these days as one of the Government’s most enthusiastic supporters of the UK’s departure from the EU.
She has welcomed the country inking several post-Brexit trade deals since it left the 27-member bloc.
However, the Leave-supporting politician was not always a fan of Brexit, as several unearthed tweets demonstrate.
On June 21, 2016, she wrote: “Leave cannot name one country we would get a better trade deal with if we left the EU.”
Her swipe at the Leave campaign came just two days before the referendum in which Britons voted to leave the EU.
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The intervention is in stark contrast to Ms Truss welcoming the trade deal the UK signed with Australia last month.
The minister congratulated the International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and her Australian counterpart Dan Tehan over the landmark deal.
In a tweet, she said: “This agreement is a pledge of economic trust between our two freedom-loving democracies.”
The deal removes tariffs on most UK exports, making it cheaper to sell products like Scotch whisky and cars.
It also allows UK companies to bid for up to an extra £10billion worth of Australian public sector contracts per year.
Ms Truss is also leading the negotiations with the EU over the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
The UK has been trying to renegotiate that part of the Brexit deal due to the chaos it has caused to Northern Irish supply chains.
Under the Protocol, the EU has insisted that certain goods from Britain entering Northern Ireland, such as fresh meat products, must go through a series of rigorous checks.
Amid the negotiations between London and Brussels, Ms Truss has fired a stark warning at the EU.
The Foreign Secretary claimed at the weekend she would trigger Article 16 – a conflict resolution mechanism – if the bloc does not cooperate, something the EU has warned against.
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Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, she said: “I want a negotiated solution but if we have to use legitimate provisions including Article 16, I am willing to do that.
“This safeguard clause was explicitly designed – and agreed to by all sides – to ease acute problems because of the sensitivity of the issues at play.
“The EU has already invoked this article to introduce a hard border for vaccine exports and, even in the act of withdrawing it, insisted on its right to do so again in the future.”
Ms Truss’ intervention comes ahead of her scheduled two-day meeting with her EU counterpart Maroš Šefčovič on Thursday.
In response to Ms Truss’ warning, he told Sky News: “We’ve heard this before from the Government, so we’re not surprised. We are not too impressed.
“I think we should focus on – at least that’s where we are focused on – is trying to find solutions for difficulties in the implementation of the Protocol.”
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