Brexit LIVE: EU bids to cut UK business off from rest of world – Article 16 row boils over
Brexit: Beaune says agreement must be ‘applied 100 percent’
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EU member states have been infuriated by a threat from the UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost to invoke Article 16 if Brussels does not cave on demands to make wholesale changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. France’s Clement Beaune erupted during an interview on Monday, with Paris threatening to turn off the lights in Britain and cut off its imported energy supply, which is already in crisis under fuel and gas shortages, as well as surging prices.
But EU member states are reportedly already floating more subtle measures that wouldn’t hit the general population but could still blow a huge hole in under-pressure finances, such as ending data transfers to UK companies, according to Politico’s Playbook.
During his outburst, Mr Beaune warned the Brexit deal should be “implemented fully” and that if it is not, “we will take European or national measures to exert pressure on the UK”.
He told Europe 1 radio: “Enough already, we have an agreement negotiated by France, by Michel Barnier, and it should be applied 100 percent.
“In the next few days, and I talked to my European counterparts on this subject yesterday, we will take measures at the European level or nationally, to apply pressure on the United Kingdom.”
“We defend our interests. We do it nicely, and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work, we take measures,” added Mr Beaune.
“For example, we can imagine, since we’re talking about energy, the United Kingdom depends on our energy supplies.
“It thinks that it can live all alone, and bash Europe.”
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Joe Biden issues new Brexit warning over Article 16 threat
Joe Biden’s administration has warned the UK they will not “simply back off” from their involvement in the row over post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland.
The UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost warned the issues over the Protocol and the wider border question was “for us to decide and sort out with the EU as we wish” as dialogue continues between both sides.
But Senators and senior Biden administration officials fear the triggering of Article 16 could undermine the Northern Ireland peace process.
White House sources have continued to insist the US President has “a profound interest” in Northern Ireland and the “importance of peace and prosperity” surrounding the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
One source warned Britain must “uphold” the Good Friday Agreement “at all costs”, stressing the US is “involved in this matter and the UK must respect that.”
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