Will London suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol?
The disputes between the UK and the EU as a result of Brexit are coming to a head. On Friday negotiators will once again meet to seek solutions for the controversial Northern Ireland protocol and the fishing dispute between London and Paris. Commentators see reasons for the two sides to stick to their guns but also for them to overcome their differences.
The only option against vindictive EU policies
The UK has every right to opt out of the Northern Ireland Protocol, The Daily Telegraph argues:
“[British] ministers are ready to retaliate against what they regard as an unrealistic and at times vindictive EU policy of refusing to accept significant changes in the protocol, which they view as part of a strategy to both punish the UK for its Brexit decision and to dissuade other countries from leaving the bloc. ... Using Article 16 may now be the only way forward. The article allows either side to suspend the protocol unilaterally if it believes its operation is causing serious 'economic, societal or environmental difficulties'. Thus triggering Article 16 is not illegal, as the critics claim.”
Call Johnson's bluff
The EU should make clear to London that the premises of the agreement have not changed, The Irish Times counters:
“With London walking away from the compromises it made and no good options available, Brussels may well conclude that its best option is to call the UK's bluff and threaten to terminate the TCA. The Northern Ireland protocol came into being in 2019 because the British were unwilling to endure a no-deal Brexit. With London repudiating the core provisions of the protocol, the only way to save it may be to make it clear that acting in this manner means enduring the no-deal outcome that Johnson was unwilling to countenance two years ago.”
There are more important things than fish and prestige
In view of other, more urgent matters to be dealt with, London and Paris should reach an agreement quickly, Dagens Nyheter urges:
“The British and French must realise that there are important factors to consider. They are the only serious military powers in Western Europe, and their ability to cooperate is essential for Nato. Russia and China are more important than fish and prestige.”