TEHRAN (Iran News) – UK PM threatens EU with emergency clause over N.Ireland trade dispute. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened the European Union with emergency measures if no solution was found in a trade dispute with the bloc.
Speaking to Sky News on Saturday, Johnson said the UK will do “whatever it takes” to protect its territorial integrity in the dispute over Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that borders the 27-nation bloc.
His threat comes after his spokesman said Friday Britain is working with the EU to urgently find radical proposals to solve the problems.
“I think we can sort it out but … it is up to our EU friends and partners to understand that we will do whatever it takes,” Johnson said. “I think if the protocol continues to be applied in this way, then we will obviously not hesitate to invoke Article 16.”
Article 16 is a safeguard clause that allows either side to take measures if they believe the agreement is leading to economic, societal or environment difficulties.
On Saturday, Johnson met French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel at a Group of Seven summit in southwestern England.
The EU leaders pressed Johnson on the UK’s commitment to fully implement the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and introduce checks on certain goods moving from the UK to Northern Ireland.
Britain says the checks are imposing a big burden on businesses and destabilizing Northern Ireland’s hard-won peace.
Johnson told Sky News that the EU leaders “do seem to misunderstand that the UK is a single country and a single territory,” adding, “I think they just need to get that into their heads.”
In a tweet after meeting with Johnson, Ursula Von der Leyen said that Northern Ireland peace was “paramount,” and the binding Brexit agreement protected it.
“We want the best possible relations with the UK. Both sides must implement what we agreed on. There is complete EU unity on this,” she said.
This comes despite US President Joe Biden encouraging the two sides to find a compromise.Biden has warned that any Britain’s backpedalling on its post-Brexit commitments to the EU regarding Northern Ireland could imperil the US trade negotiation.