Tensions between London and Brussels soared after talks collapsed on Wednesday between UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost and European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic over a solution to implementing the protocol from Northern Ireland. The EU has threatened to start a trade war against Britain if it does not implement controls on goods entering Northern Ireland as part of the Brexit deal, Mr Sefcovic warning that patience with the UK is “very, very thin”.
But Mujtaba Rahman, managing director of Europe for political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, warned that the EU’s trade retaliation could extend for greater lengths than anyone could have imagined before.
In a note following the breakdown in talks between the YK and the EU, the analyst wrote: “In a more extreme scenario of the British suspension of the Protocol, the EU could choose to do something in various sectors.
“An example is electricity, as the UK is a net importer, mainly from France, which supplies a large part of Jersey and a small percentage of mainland Britain’s needs. “
Although largely ignored during negotiations for a trade deal between the two sides, financial services and the City of London could also be a target, he warned, and Brussels “could slow down its decisions on ‘equivalence’ which would allow this trade in the future ”.
In the event of escalating tensions and additional tariff penalties, Mr Rahman warned that ‘high sugar products, or even action against iconic UK brands such as Scotch Whiskey or Gin are possible candidates for retaliation ”.
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Joe Biden’s decision to influence the EU side in his ongoing dispute with the UK over the Northern Ireland protocol risks binding Britain to bloc rules in perpetuity, a former diplomat has warned .
Adrian Hill urged Boris Johnson to use the G7 summit to underline his determination to follow through on the decision to sever ties with Brussels.
Mr Hill was speaking after numerous reports suggested that Mr Biden had ordered his officials to initiate a “proceeding”, defined as “a request or intercession of a foreign official” – for example, a request to support for a policy or protest against the policy or actions of the host government.
The move stems from Mr Biden’s concerns over Northern Ireland, Yael Lampert, a senior US embassy official, reportedly told chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost that the UK government was ‘on fire’ tensions in Northern Ireland.
However, Mr. Hill, 80, who has held diplomatic posts in the past, worked as a member of the Channel Tunnel team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Cabinet Office COBRA committee, was not very impressed.
Update 8am: we will not move! Blunt Macron tells Boris that ‘NOTHING is negotiable’ in hated Brexit protocol
France has pledged to block any attempt to renegotiate the post-Brexit border agreement concluded for Northern Ireland.
President Emmanuel Macron stressed that he would veto any attempt to revise the protocol to avoid a hard border or extend the “grace period” on the Brussels bureaucracy.
In comments that are likely to stir up tensions between the UK and the EU, he said it was “not serious” to revisit the deal.
Mr Macron said: “I think it is not serious to want to review in July what we finalized after years of debate and work in December.
“It’s not a problem between the UK and France, it’s a problem between the Europeans and the UK.
“We have a protocol under which there is this Northern Ireland protocol and we have a trade agreement.
“This has been painfully discussed for years, and discussed, I remind you, at the initiative of the British who decided to leave. “