Although talks have been deadlocked over the last few weeks, Germany’s Minister for Europe Michael Roth called on London to “come to its senses” and resolve issues surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol. In a video, he insisted the UK should be a “friend and partner” for the EU. While Lord Frost has warned triggering Article 16 remains an option for the UK, the intervention from Germany could spark a breakthrough between the two sides as they meet for talks on Friday.
Simon Coveney has warned the EU will “respond robustly” if the UK triggers Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Indeed, if the UK were to unilaterally suspend parts of the deal, Mr Coveney insisted the EU would regard the move as a “serious breach of good faith”.
Although he recognised a change of tone from the UK, he also claimed a large gap remains between the two sides.
He said: “They are effectively suggesting that if they can’t get the compromise they are looking for from the EU they may act unilaterally and use Article 16 to set aside elements of the protocol that they don’t believe are necessary.
“I don’t believe that the EU will respond well to that. In fact, I know they won’t.
“They will respond very robustly and they will regard it as a fairly serious breach of good faith.”
Talks will resume on Friday but Lord Frost has insisted the threshold for using Article 16 remains.
UK officials, such as Micheal Gove, hope an agreement can be made before the end of the year in order to secure a solution to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.
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