Brexit news: Belgian Deputy Prime Minister urges von der Leyen to abandon UK trade deal | Politics | New

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The move illustrates the growing frustration at the heart of the bloc over the increasingly bitter feud over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Mr Van Peteghem, who serves as finance minister in Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s office, made his statement in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Speaking on Friday, he urged the bloc to take a hard-line approach with Britain.

Specifically, Mr Van Peteghem said the commissioner, led by Ms von der Leyen, should consider scrapping the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (ACT) if the UK triggers Article 16, as is generally believed. Boris Johnson.

He stressed: “It is important that negotiations continue and that we have good relations with the UK. “

Speaking after talks with UK Brexit Minister Lord David Frost, Mr Sefcovic said: “We hear a lot about Article 16 right now.

“There is no doubt that triggering Article 16 to call for the renegotiation of the protocol would have serious consequences.”

The UK has warned it could trigger Article 16, which allows either side to take unilateral action if they feel their post-Brexit trade deal has a strongly negative impact on their interests.

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The spokesperson added: “From a UK perspective, these gaps could still be addressed through further intensive discussions. “

By putting checks on certain goods crossing mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, many members of the Unionist community in Northern Ireland claim the protocol violated the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The EU says tighter controls are needed to protect its single market of 450 million people.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his meeting with Mr Sefcovic, Lord Frost said: “We are not going to trigger Article 16 today, but Article 16 is very much on the table.”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters Britain would continue negotiations to try to resolve the issues.

As expectations grew that London might resort to this option, Frost insisted that the best way to avoid it was “if we can come to an agreement, an essential agreement that provides a lasting solution”.

He said there was a “significant” gap between the EU and the UK on the issue and time was running out for his negotiations with Sefcovic.

Former Treasury adviser Mujtaba Rahman believes it is only a matter of time before Article 16 is invoked.

On Friday, he tweeted: “I understand that the Full Cabinet – chaired by @BorisJohnson – will discuss Article 16 for the first time at the end of next week (Thursday / Friday).”


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