Liz Truss, Brexit and the matter of Article 16

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary has stated that she is unwilling to accept a deal that requires British products to be inspected upon entering Northern Ireland.

Ms. Truss was writing in the Sunday Telegraph as the UK’s principal negotiator with the EU in post-Brexit discussions.

In 2019, the prime minister reached an agreement known as the protocol, under which some commodities entering the country from the United Kingdom are subjected to inspection.

The UK has been attempting to renegotiate that accord for the past six months.

Ms. Truss will meet with her European Union counterpart, Maros Sefcovic, in two days next week.

She said she wouldn’t sign anything that prevented the people of Northern Ireland from benefiting from the same taxes and spending decisions as the rest of the UK, or that still required checks on goods going within their own country.


What is Article 16?

In the month of July, the United Kingdom proposed an agreement under which items from the United Kingdom bound for Northern Ireland would not be inspected and would require minimum paperwork.

Goods on their way to the Republic of Ireland would be inspected at Northern Ireland’s ports.

In October, the EU released its own suggestions, claiming that they would drastically cut, but refused to eliminate border inspections on products.

It was previously stated that signing up to a Swiss-style agri-food agreement would be the quickest way to decrease checks.

That would need the UK as a whole adhering to all relevant EU rules, which the government claims it cannot accept.

Mrs Truss said she will “bring up our constructive suggestions to fix the situation” when she meets with Mr Sefcovic, the EU’s top post-Brexit negotiator.

It is unclear whether these proposals differ from those made in July.

She also reiterated the  willingness the UK had to employ the protocol’s Article 16 procedure.

If either the EU or the UK finds that the deal is causing substantial practical problems or trade diversion, Article 16 lays out the process for taking unilateral “safeguard” measures.

Mrs Truss said preferred a negotiated approach, but if they had to use lawful provisions, such as Article 16, she was willing to do so.

Because of the sensitivity of the issues at hand, this safety clause was deliberately created – and agreed to by all parties – to alleviate acute situations, she added.

Sarah Bromley

Sarah is a a journalist at Parliament Magazine specializing in UK and European news. She is also full-time freelance writer specializing in business and finance and has worked with a range of clients, from growth marketing agencies to cryptocurrency platforms. She previously studied Economics with Spanish Bsc at the University of Birmingham.