Taoiseach: Article 16 threat receding

London had been expected to invoke the clause once the COP26 climate summit ended, but Martin told an Irish radio show that there had been a “dialling down” of such threats in recent days. [EPA-EFE / JOHANNA GERON]

Tensions over the UK’s potential triggering of the Northern Ireland protocol’s Article 16 are easing, for now, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin has said following concerns that such a move could lead to a trade war with the EU.

London had been expected to invoke the clause once the COP26 climate summit ended, but Martin told an Irish radio show that there had been a “dialling down” of such threats in recent days.

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that he still saw a window for negotiation over the protocol and that “the main focus is to try to encourage progress.”

Coveney is due to meet Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s Commissioner for Interinstitutional Relations, on Tuesday for further discussions on the issue.

“I think there is still some time to try to ensure that negotiations and partnership can work”, he said.  “We will continue to focus on those efforts to do everything we can to dissuade the British government from triggering Article 16,” he added.

(Molly Killeen | EURACTIV.com)

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