Three ways the EU could retaliate if the UK drops the Northern Ireland protocol | Brexit


The EU could impose tariffs on British fish and farm produce in just seven days if Boris Johnson pushes through with moves to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol, experts have said legal.

According to Catherine Barnard, professor of European law at the University of Cambridge, the short and brutal shock is one of the three main weapons of retaliation available under the trade agreement.

1. The nuclear option – terminating the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) using Articles 770 and 779

These clauses allow the EU to terminate the entire trade deal, spelling out the end of two-way free trade as well as all other elements of the deal, including the 90-day visa-free holiday and fishing agreement.

This would essentially return the UK to a no-deal Brexit scenario, with adverse consequences including the suspension of police and security cooperation, a serious move with long-term consequences for EU-UK relations.

As this requires a year’s notice, this may not sit well with member states who want to show their teeth in the face of what they see as an act of bad faith by the UK.

2. Finger on button option – item 521

This would allow the EU to suspend the trade aspects of the TCA, leaving all other areas agreed last December, including visa-free leave and police cooperation, untouched.

Again, this option may not appeal to member states as it would not achieve the practical goals of demonstrating that the EU has teeth.

“It seems unlikely to me that they will because, frankly, if things have gotten so bad that the EU is talking about ending one part of the treaty, it seems unlikely that they will continue to cooperate in the others. domains,” says Barnard.

3. One-Week Trade War – Section 506(2)

This allows the EU to “suspend, in whole or in part”, access to its waters.

Such a response may have nothing to do with Northern Ireland, but Barnard says: “The advantage from an EU perspective is that you only have to give seven days’ notice ”, so that a trade war could be started in a week.

Additionally, Section 506 allows for broader retaliation if deemed necessary. If the EU considers a suspension of fishing around the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man “proportionate to the economic or societal impact of the UK’s alleged failure” to comply with the threat, it can suspend duty-free trade “in whole or in part”. in part”.

In other words, he could impose tariffs on fish and other goods within seven days.

But is it one situation or the other?

The treaty governing current trade agreements – the Trade and Cooperation Agreement – gives sweeping powers to each party to end the relationship. Barnard said, “They [the EU] could do them all at once, but they’re more likely to try to make things worse.

Sign up for First Edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday at 7am BST

That the EU is considering pushing the button on either option just 18 months after the UK left the bloc with a trade deal is remarkable in the history of trade disputes.

“If you look at the World Trade Organization, the number of state-to-state disputes is relatively low,” Barnard says. “The purpose of dispute settlement mechanisms is to resolve arguments, and that’s why you have these provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement and the ATT. But instead of talking about resolution, we’re talking about escalating arguments until to end the treaty. It’s extraordinary.


About Author

Comments are closed.