Truss warned EU will ‘retaliate’ against hated Brexit deal
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The EU has issued a stark warning to Liz Truss over her plan to get suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol. Speaking at an event on the fringes of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Joao Vale de Almeida, EU ambassador to the UK, said the bloc believes the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is “illegal” and “counterproductive”.
He declined to comment on how the EU would respond if the Bill is passed into law, but said “we will not welcome it”.
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss is currently planning to push ahead with her controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which will allow the Government to unilaterally override parts of the protocol and suspend elements of the agreement.
The impact of the new legislation would reportedly be even more far-reaching than the triggering of Article 16, which would still require checks on some goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Bill’s critics have said it will breach international law.
Ms Truss claimed the EU “has ruled out changing the text of the protocol”, adding that the UK Government has a “duty to act” to resolve the issue.
When asked about the potential passage of the Northern Ireland Bill, Mr Vale de Almeida told conference delegates: “For the next two months I need to remain diplomatic and rule number one is to never comment on hypothetical.
“I won’t comment on the possible passage of this Bill.
“But I want to remind you of what we have been saying about this Bill – that we believe it is illegal.
“It is counterproductive and it is a breach of international EU and British law.
“We will not welcome it, but I don’t want to comment on a scenario that will happen in the future.”
He added: “The EU will treat this as a very aggressive and hostile act.”
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The UK has been locked in talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol – which was agreed as part of the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard border in Ireland post-Brexit – since October 2021.
Mr Vale de Almeida told delegates that trust levels between the UK and the EU are “too low to produce good results”.
He said the communication levels between the UK and EU are “not normal” and “not necessarily in a good space”.
The diplomat explained: “We need to raise them so that our leaders talk more often.
“It is not normal that we do not have a summit with the UK for a number of years.
“A few years ago we had two summits per year with Russia, I attended too many of them for my tastes.
“Where is the dialogue between our leaders?
“It is not happening and when it happens it is not necessarily in a good space.”
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