The European Commission has suggested an economically damaging trade war with Britain, promising to respond “with all measures at its disposal” if Liz Trass pushes forward a plan to rewrite the Northern Ireland Protocol. Foreign Minister Liz Trass outlined plans Tuesday to introduce a bill that would make key changes to the protocol, including waiving all checks on goods arriving from the UK to Northern Ireland where they are not destined for the Republic of Ireland.
She said the UK government still hopes to reconcile the changes it deems necessary, calling them “comprehensive and reasonable”.
She said: “Our advantage is to reach a result of negotiations with the EU. We have worked tirelessly for this and will continue to do so. “
Rejecting the threats, Mr Farage spoke to Dan Wootton on Tuesday night with GB News and said: “The reality is that there will be no trade war, but I am sorry to say that this whole thing will drag on for months, if not years.”
He added that the EU had “respected” Britain since Brexit.
He also said: “I’m not afraid of it, there is this trait of revenge against the British.”
The agreement – known as the protocol – is a special agreement that supports Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market for goods, avoiding a tough border with the Republic of Ireland.
The agreement guaranteed the continuation of free trade across Ireland’s land border, which is a sensitive issue due to the history of conflict in Northern Ireland.
But the protocol introduced some new checks on goods moving between the UK and Northern Ireland, and has been criticized by union politicians since its introduction in 2021.
The Northern Ireland Protocol is part of the Brexit agreement – meaning that trucks do not face checkpoints when traveling from Northern Ireland (in the UK) to the Republic of Ireland (in the EU).
Instead, when goods arrive in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK (England, Scotland and Wales), they are checked for compliance with EU rules.
The UK and the EU have chosen this arrangement because the Irish border is a sensitive issue due to the troubled political history of Northern Ireland
Speaking about the protocol, Mr. Farage said: “Please don’t pretend that this difficulty arose from the air.
“So what the government is trying to do is look for a compromise and actually the concept of red and green stripes where goods crossing Northern Ireland from the mainland to a republic that is an EU country.
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“It sounds great, and it sounds, at least in this part, like a practical solution. The problem is that on the other hand we have the European Union.
“Let me tell you something, they can’t move an inch. It is necessary to make a final decision, which is to cancel the protocol.
“I suspect this thing will go on and on. I do not think the government will have the courage to repeal the protocol.
“The reality is that there will be no trade war, but I regret that it will all last for months, if not years.
“We must remember that, in particular, with regard to Ukraine and gas and oil supplies from Russia, the EU is divided today more than ever before. They have much bigger problems on the plate than in Northern Ireland. “