Michel Barnier hands Boris Johnson stern Brexit ultimatum – EU can retaliate

Brexit: It is in UK's 'best interest to behave' says Barnier

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Despite being outside of the Brussels bubble, the former negotiator claimed the EU fought hard to include retaliatory measures within the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. With tensions remaining high between the UK and EU, Mr Barnier hinted Brussels will not hesitate to hit back if Westminster violates the agreement. Mr Barnier also insisted the agreement had been made on the proviso of cooperation between the EU and UK.

During an interview with Euronews, Mr Barnier was asked whether the safeguards within the agreement were enough to stop the UK.

In response, Mr Barnier said: “I hope we won’t have to use them.

“They allow us to retaliate, to take compensatory measures, to re-establish customs tariffs on various sectors, to do what is called a ‘cross suspension’, i.e. to cross suspend this or that part of the agreement, or if necessary, even suspend the agreement itself.”

While the UK has finally discovered its newfound independence, Mr Barnier warned Britain and the EU still face common challenges.

Despite the war of the words between the two, he called on both sides to “pay attention” and implement the Brexit deal adequately going forward.

He added: “I think everyone needs to pay attention because, really, that’s been one of my concerns for the last four years.

“I would like to put this divorce agreement in perspective.

“What is the perspective?

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“The perspective is that the United Kingdom, which has become totally independent, and the European Union must and will face common challenges.”

Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, either side can suspend the agreement if one party fails to follow a ruling by a Partnership Council to resolve any issues.

If either side has violated the level-playing field measures, one can take out unilateral action – the fisheries element can also be suspended under this section.

As Mr Barnier called on the two sides to continue cooperation, Brexit minister Lord David Frost agreed an extension to the amnesty on chilled meats last month.

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The amnesty was set to end at the beginning of this month but now the two sides will look to find a more permanent resolution by September.

The amnesty on chilled meats is linked to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Protocol leaves Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market which means products entering the country from Great Britain must have customs checks applied.

The EU has insisted the Protocol must be followed in its fullest form despite the issues it has caused for businesses in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the weekend, Northern Ireland’s First Minister claimed the Protocol has caused harm towards the unity of the UK.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told Sky News: “At the heart of the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement are our three sets of relationships, and there’s a very delicate balance within that agreement as to how those relationships are managed.

“One of the key relationships is that between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

“The agreement is very clear. The principle of consent protects the rights of the people of Northern Ireland to determine their constitutional status.

“When you harm one of those relationships, you harm all of them by extension.

“That’s exactly what we’ve seen happening because our relationship with Great Britain has been harmed by this Protocol.

“So too our relationship with the Republic of Ireland has been harmed, and indeed it has undermined and destabilised relationships within Northern Ireland itself.

“We’ve seen that even on our streets. So it is imperative for all of us that we resolve these issues.”

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