Article 16 in DAYS – Cabinet briefed on Boris deadline for pulling trigger

Nigel Farage issues warning over 'confrontation' with France

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Sam Coates, deputy political editor at Sky News, has revealed cabinet ministers are discussing mid-November as a likely moment for triggering Article 16. According to Mr Coates, Number 10 insists a negotiated outcome is their preference and point out Article 16 process has its limitations, but maintain that negotiations can not go on forever. Insiders put a “few weeks” timescale on the landmark decision with many believing the end of November is the latest they would leave a decision. 

Meanwhile, another Brexit battle erupted today after France detained a British trawler off its coast in an act of anger over withheld fishing licences.

In a tweet the French Maritime Ministry said: “This Wednesday, two English ships were fined during classic checks off Le Havre. The first did not comply spontaneously: verbalisation. The second did not have a license to fish in our waters: diverted to the quay and handed over to the judicial authority.”

France says its fishermen have not been granted half the licences they are entitled to and is threatening further retaliatory moves. 

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned in an angry ultimatum tariffs on energy, customs, and access to ports were among the measures that may come into force.

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Additional reporting by Rachel Hagan

KEY EVENTS

  • UK convenes Article 16 committee in preparation for EU clash 18:03
  • Questions over why the vessel was ‘withdrawn from EU’s list’10:47
  • UK threatens ‘appropriate’ response over France’s fishing row threats10:41
  • Macduff shellfish vessel seized, its director gives a statement09:58
  • Paris will disrupt the UK’s energy supply if needed08:14
  • Top Greek economist warns ‘money is GONE’ after huge EU bailout

    Official costs to the economic bloc of rescuing Greece following the 2008 financial crisis is €278billion.

    However, George Vamvoukas, who has served as Special Secretary of the Ministry of National Economy, said: “The EU has spent a total of more than €600billion.”

    €80billion is said to have come from Germany alone, but Prof Vamvoukas, an economist at the University of Athens, told the Bild newspaper that its share of the bailout was closer to €170billion.

    He said the money that had been given to the country was “gone forever”, the paper said.

    The higher figures were because the “honest calculation” also included funds to rescue Greek banks, he said, as well as the two “haircuts” – a reduction in the value of the debt owed by a troubled borrower.

    Prof Vamvoukas commented: “You can’t simply leave them out of the calculation.”

    BBC QT audience member slams EU for ongoing fishing row

    A BBC Question Time audience member has blasted the EU for ongoing fisheries issues and called for the bloc to stop “targeting” the UK.

    There is an ongoing dispute over how many permits French fishermen have been handed by British authorities.

    Observers claim that the French President is using the dispute to appear tough ahead of next year’s presidential elections – where Emmanuel Macron is hoping to secure a second term.

    The audience member said: “I think this is just a continuation of the attitude of the EU and France and all those countries to the UK since the time of Brexit.

    “Brexit is done, we have moved on and we just need to carry on but the EU and France and all the other nations still seem to have this point and try to target the UK every single time.”

    Eurozone threat! Germany has reached its highest inflation level in 28 years

    According to the Federal Statistical Office, consumer prices rose by 4.5 percent throughout October compared to the same month last year.

    The Wiesbaden authority last measured an inflation rate of 4.5 percent in 1993.

    In September, Inflation had already passed the four percent mark at 4.1 percent.

    According to the Federal Statistical Office, the last time the Wiesbaden authority put a four before the decimal point was back in December 1993, when it was at 4.3 percent.

    Thomas Gitzel, chief economist at VP Bank, previously warned: “The risks of inflation are currently increasing significantly.

    “So far, it has been safe to say that the rise in inflation is temporary.

    “But the now significantly higher raw material prices are changing the starting position.”

    Mr Gitzel warned the higher gas prices could have an impact on electricity prices.

    He added: “This means that there is a risk that the so far selective price increases will eat into large parts of the economy.

    ‘Major headache’ incoming to EU Commission due to Macron’s fishing feud

    French President Emmanuel Macron has the power to cause a “major headache” for the European Commission amid the ongoing row between Paris and London overfishing arrangements in the English Channel after Brexit.

    France has threatened to slash energy exports to the Channel Islands in a dispute over the number of fishing licences been awarded to French trawlers. France24’s Dave Keating has argued in the event that France chooses to escalate the row, the EU Commission would be forced to take a “more active role.”

    Mr Keating told France24: “I don’t get the impression that there was a lot of coordination between the Commission and Paris on this.

    “This really feels like France acting on its own.

    “And I get the impression that the Commission actually finds all of this sabre rattling unhelpful because this is taking place in the context of many treaty requirements that the UK is not fulfilling and the Commission really has its hands full, most especially with the Northern Ireland protocol.

    “This fishing issue is relatively small, this is a small number of vessels we’re talking about here.”

    The Brussels Correspondent for France24 added: “It’s incredibly important to France, but to other EU member states, it’s not as important.

    “That being said, I think that if this extends into the area of energy, the Commission is going to take a more keen interest here as I said, this is France’s right to block these imports and to have more thorough checks.

    “But if France acts on its threat to start cutting off energy exports to the UK, to the island of Jersey, specifically or to the UK in general that is still France’s prerogative to do.

    IDS blasts Macron over UK fishing threats

    Macron has been slapped down by Sir Iain Duncan Smith for “window dressing nonsense” amid the escalating row between France and the UK over fishing rights.

    The former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has blasted French President Emmanuel Macron after a British scallop trawler was seized by authorities in France amid a bitter row over post-Brexit fishing arrangements.

    Sir Iain dismissed the actions of the French President as “window dressing” ahead of the April 2022 French Presidential Elections. He went on to argue that the EU themselves have already told President Macron he “does not have a leg to stand on.”

    Sir Iain told Sky News: “You know, we should put this into context.

    “It’s quite obvious that France is facing an election and the President isn’t doing too well, and I’m afraid it goes with the territory that you then immediately try and pull the tail of the lion across the water, which is the UK.

    “So first of all, a lot of this is window dressing and nonsense from France.

    “The second thing is that even the EU and France, President Macron talks about absolute adherence and adoration of the EU, but the EU has told to him he hasn’t got a leg to stand on when it comes to fishing.”

    US could wade in on Article 16 controversy says expert

    With Brexit tensions between the UK and EU on a knife-edge, political expert and director European Centre for International Political Economy, David Henig warned the situation could become far worse.

    While the prospect of a trade war between Brussels and London looms large, Mr Henig pointed out that Washington could also be thrown into the mixer. And it could put the Prime Minister on a collision course with the US President, just as Mr Biden prepares to land on UK soil for COP26 in Glasgow.

    Mr Henig said: “Given the potential consequences of triggering Article 16 include a trade war with the EU and diplomatic conflict with the US, we aren’t in a strong position.

    “Though I suspect Government ministers may not say as much.”

    The US President has repeated his stance on the Northern Ireland Protocol and support for the EU throughout Brexit talks.

    EU running scared: Bureaucrats terrified of Boris’ Article 16 push as talks ‘in ditch’

    European bureaucrats appear to be running scared of Boris Johnson’s Article 16 plans as they fear talks over the Northern Ireland Protocol are heading “into a ditch”.

    It comes as Mr Johnson is said to preparing to trigger Article 16 of the EU withdrawal agreement over issues with the Protocol. 

    According to Sky News’ Sam Coates, Downing Street is aware that negotiations over revising the problematic Protocol cannot go on forever, and are putting a “few weeks” timescale on talks.

    However, he added that EU officials are “pessimistic” about progress and fear talks are “heading into a ditch”.

    ‘It doesn’t make sense!’ fishing boss slams Macron

    Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, has questioned Emmanuel Macron’s motive after France seized a Briitsh fishing boat amid rising tensions. 

    The extreme response “doesn’t make sense” and could have more to do with the looming French election than international disputes. 

    The French will back down, the law is not on their side! says former Tory leader

    Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith says France will “have to back down in the end because, of course, the law is not on their side”. 

    Speaking on Sky News, Mr Smith pointed out that France was still in the EU which means it is bound by their treaties.

    “The EU agreed a deal [Macron] does not like, well it’s too late now!” he said. 

    The French are trying to ’cause trouble’

    Dr Alan Mendoza, founder of the trans-Atlantic foreign policy and national security think tank the Henry Jackson Society, has accused the French of trying to “cause trouble” amid rising tensions with the UK. 

    He explained how far the situation escalated would depend on a number of factors including whether other European countries called France to heel. 

    Dr Mendoza went on to say it was essential that Britain enforced the law which France is currently breaking. 

    Britons start boycotting French goods as Brexit fishing wars explode

    Britons have vowed to boycott French goods after the battle over post-Brexit fishing rights exploded on Wednesday.

    In order to hit back at Emmanuel Macron, one social media user backed the UK Government’s plan to strike back at France. One user, named Stoner1968 said: “We will back Downing Street by boycotting anything that’s French!

    “That includes EDF Energy, Renault, Citroen UK, French Wine, Cheese and other products.

    “We are the United Kingdom and won’t be bullied by little man Emmanuel Macron.”

    Matthew Wilcox said: “Won’t require much.

    “French fold like a hot candle!”

    Lord Frost ‘concerned’ by French fishing plot

    Chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost has said he is “concerned” about the fast-deteriorating fishing row with France. 

    Speaking after the French seized a British fishing boat for allegedly not having the correct licence, Lord Frost said: “I remain concerned by French plans on fisheries and beyond.

    “We expect to have more to say on this issue tomorrow.”

    The British government has summoned the French ambassador to come to London tomorrow in an attempt to resolve the spat. 

    France breaking international law, says government

    A government spokesman has suggested France is breaking international law by seizing a British fishing trawler amid escalating tensions. 

    In response, the British government has summoned the French ambassador to London to discuss the “unjustified” move. 

    The spokesman said: “Lord Frost chaired a ministerial meeting earlier today to consider the UK response to the measures set out by France yesterday.

    “The proposed French actions are unjustified and do not appear to be compatible on the EU’s part with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) or wider international law.

    “We regret the confrontational language that has been consistently used by the French government on this issue, which makes this situation no easier to resolve.

    “We have raised our concerns strongly with both the French and the EU Commission. As a next step, the Foreign Secretary has instructed minister Morton to summon the French Ambassador.

    “We repeat that the Government has granted 98% of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in the UK’s waters and, as has consistently been made clear, will consider any further evidence on the remainder.”

    Truss summons French ambassador over fishing row

    The British government has summoned the French ambassador to London over France’s bitter actions in a post-Brexit fishing row. 

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “I have instructed Europe Minister Wendy Morton to summon the French Ambassador to the UK for talks tomorrow to explain the disappointing and disproportionate threats made against the UK and the Channel Islands.”

    When can Article 16 be triggered?

    Article 16 should be triggered if the protocol is leading to “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties” that seem likely to persist.

    There is no specific guidance on what qualified as “serious” difficulty. 

    The safeguard measures can also be requested if the current protocol starts to lead to a “diversion of trade”, but again there is no guidance on how exactly that should be interpreted.

    The UK government insists that by their standards the threshold has been reached for using safeguards, but it is choosing to hold off triggering Article 16 for now. 

    However, Lord Frost warned on Monday that the government would make a decision about whether to pull the trigger in autumn. 

    What is Article 16?

    In October 2019, the UK and EU agreed on a special Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    The purpose of the Northern Ireland Protocol was to prevent a hard border across Ireland which many feared would reignite violence and nullify the Good Friday Agreement.

    Article 16 of the protocol sets out the process for taking unilateral “safeguard” measures if either the EU or the UK concludes that the operation of the deal is leading to serious problems.

    Those safeguards would amount to suspending parts of the deal.

    Ministers could trigger Article 16 in days

    Sam Coates, deputy political editor at Sky News, has reported ministers could trigger Article 16 as early as mid-November. 

    “Number 10 says a negotiated outcome is their preference and point out Article 16 process has its limitations,” he explains on Twitter. 

    What could REALLY be behind Macron’s fishing tantrum

    Tensions erupted today after a British scallop trawler was ordered to divert to the port of Le Havre after French authorities said it was fishing in French waters without a licence.

    But owner, Macduff Shellfish, said the vessel was fishing legally but had been “caught up” in a dispute about post-Brexit fishing rights.

    Britain has granted 98 percent of the permits requested by EU vessels and more are expected to be granted.

    But 55 fishing boats continue to be denied a licence to fish in waters around Jersey, a crown dependency, after failing to provide proof that they operated in the area before Brexit.

    UK convenes Article 16 committee in preparation for EU clash

    The UK is gearing up for a major clash with the EU after activating a key government committee to investigate the impact of triggering Article 16 in the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

    Article 16 is an emergency mechanism which would allow the UK to stop following some parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

    Penny finally drops as Austrian newspaper admits ‘great Brexit success’

    An Austrian newspaper has branded Brexit a “great success,” citing how “wages are rising, London rents are falling” as parameters for praising the UK’s exit from the European Union.

    In an article published in Wochenblick on Wednesday, the online and weekly paper stated that there was no need to listen to “fairy tales about Brexit”. 

    The publication criticised a common narrative being peddled across the EU which states “the [British] economy is reaching its limits” due to “a shortage of skilled workers” and “petrol stations without petrol.”

    On the contrary, it explained: “The truth is quite different: never in the history of present-day England have workers’ incomes risen more strongly and faster, and handicrafts have never been more important than they are now. Because: The UK economy is booming like rarely before.”

    In Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget announced yesterday, he scrapped the public sector pay freeze and raised the national living wage to £9.50 an hour. 

    ‘The only thing the Britons understand is force!’ says French minister

    Frances’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, threatened to take a zero-tolerance approach against Britain in the escalating dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights.

    Mr Beaune said: “We need to speak the language of force as I’m afraid it is the only thing this British government will understand.

    “We will show no tolerance, no indulgence.”

    ‘Do same to them!’ Farage urges Boris to get tough as French fishermen throw toys out pram

    Nigel Farage has urged Boris Johnson to take a tougher line on French fishermen when they cross over into British waters amid threats of sanctions from across the Channel.

    After French authorities seized a British fishing boat, Mr Farage suggested the British give them a taste of their own medicine. 

    “British trawler impounded by the French.. Why don’t we do the same to them when they come inside 6 miles next time?” he tweeted. 

    POLL: Should Boris punish France for vicious threats to close French ports?

    Have your say in the Express.co.uk poll which poses the question: should Boris punish France for vicious threats to close French ports?

    France has threatened to close ports to British fishing boats if more licenses are not granted its vessels operating in UK waters.

    CAST YOUR VOTE HERE

    DUP says Irish Sea trade border need to reach resolution ‘very, very soon’

    The DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said talks between the UK and EU on the contentious Irish Sea trade border need to reach resolution “very, very soon”.

    If significant changes to the protocol are not secured by early November he will pull down powersharing at Stormont. 

    But Sinn Fein deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the DUP’s threats to the Stormont institutions are “ludicrous.”

    Sir Jeffrey told said on Thursday: “We’re very clear you can’t put the protocol issue on the long finger and I welcomed what the Prime Minister said yesterday about the need for rapid progress.

    I think that what we need and what I said to the Prime Minister yesterday was we need decisive action taken by the Government to honour the commitment they gave in New Decade, New Approach (agreement) to protect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market.”

    Jersey minister insists they have ‘acted with good will’ in fishing row with France

    Jersey’s minister for external relations has insisted that the Channel Island government has abided by the post-Brexit agreement on fishing licences.

    Ian Gorst, Jersey’s minister for external relations, told Sky News: “We have been very, very clear here in Jersey that we wish to at all time abide by terms of the trade deal… we do, and we wish to continue to do so.

    If log books are provided that show those vessels have fished in our waters, they will be provided with licences. We have acted with good will.

    They are not entitled to a licence unless they can provide evidence that a vessel has fished in Jersey’s waters over the past three years.”

    Gorst continued that France should use the dispute mechanisms within the trade deal, rather than making threats to cut off electricity supplies to the Channel Island.

    He said: “If France really does believe licences are being withheld, and we not seen any evidence of that, there are mechanisms within the trade deal for dealing with disagreements.”

    “We simply say, provide the log books if you have got the log books. If you haven’t… let’s trigger the formal process through the trade deal.”

    Nigel Farage tells PM to be tougher on French fishing row

    Nigel Farage, Former Member of the European Parliament, has urged the Prime Minister to take a tougher line on French fishermen when they cross over into British waters amid threats of sanctions from across the Channel.

    Read more here

    Tory MP dubs Macron ‘little Napoleon’

    Andrew Bridgen, Conservative Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, says history shows the UK is right to “stand up to little Napoleons clinging onto power.”

    He believes that with Emmanuel Macron fighting for an election win next year that matters should “get worse before they get better.”

    Read more here

    ‘Don’t back down to Macron’

    Brexiteer June Mummery, a staunch campaigner for the rights of UK fishermen, responded to Lord Frost about the fishing war saying she thinks Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU has failed to live up to his pledge to “take back control” of Britain’s waters.

    Questions over why the vessel was ‘withdrawn from EU’s list’

    The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, confirmed in the Commons that the EU “did grant a licence” for the trawler that was detained by French authorities.

    He said: “For some reason it was subsequently withdrawn from the list. It is unclear why that might have been for the moment. We have not been able to establish why that was not the case… the relevant data is held by Marine Scotland, and we have been told Marine Scotland hope to get back to use in the next hour.”

    UK threatens ‘appropriate’ response over France’s fishing row threats

    If France goes ahead with restricting electricity to the UK, the Environment Secretary threatened an “appropriate and calibrated response”, with their “doors remaining ever open” to resolving the row.

    He said French comments are “disappointing, disproportionate and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner.”

    He said the measures did not appear to be “compatible” with the post-Brexit trade deal “or wider international law.” 

    British vessel ‘appeared not to be on list’

    Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard asked in the Commons: “The fishing dispute with France is very troubling and facts need to be established.”

    He asked if an external waters licence has been issued “to the Scottish scalloper currently detained in Le Havre, as its name does not appear on the MMO website. Is that an oversight?”

    Environment secretary George Eustice said: “My officials are investigating the circumstances around this vessel that’s been detained in France. It is too early to be able to identify precisely what happened.

    But I have seen reports that it was on a list originally and then appeared not to be on a list. But it is something that I’ve asked our officials to urgently investigate.”

    Macduff shellfish vessel seized, its director gives a statement

    Andrew Brown, Director Sustainability and Public Affairs at Macduff Shellfish said on Sky news that their scallop vessell was boarded by French authorities and ordered to the port of Le Havre, despite the fishing activities being fully legally.

    He believes their boat: “is another pawn in the ongoing dispute between the UK and France, in the ongoing dispute of the Brexit fishing agreement.”

    They are looking to the UK government to defend the rights of their fleet and ensure that the fishing rights provided under the Brexit fishing agreement are fully respected by the EU.

    Urgent statement in the commons after France’s fishing threats

    Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has granted SNP MP Deidre Brock an urgent question in the Commons on the matter with ministers set to give a statement to MPs outlining their response.

    Read more here

    ‘It’s not war, but it is a fight’

    France’s Seas Minister Annick Girardin told RTL radio: “It’s not war, but it is a fight.”

    French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said France would now use the language of force, as that appeared to be all Britain understood.

    Martin Daubney calls French ‘Franco bullies’

    Former Brexit MEP Martin Daubney said on Twitter the French seizing British boats is an outrageous act of hostility.

    He continued: “t’s time to punish these Franco bullies. Why not terminate all French fishing licences with immediate effect and see how they like it up ‘em?”

    Paris will disrupt the UK’s energy supply if needed

    Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European and foreign affairs, said in a statement that Paris has threatened to disrupt the UK’s energy supply if Britain fails to address French concerns over fishing licenses. He said “a second series” of measures is “being prepared.”

    French ministers initially hinted at cutting off Jersey’s electricity but are now thought to be considering price rises instead.

    Lord Frost is ‘very disappointed’ in France

    Responding to the French statement, British Brexit Secretary Lord David Frost, said it was “very disappointing that France has felt it necessary to make threats late this evening against the UK fishing industry and seemingly traders more broadly.”

    And he added: “As we have had no formal communication from the French Government on this matter we will be seeking urgent clarification of their plans. We will consider what further action is necessary in that light.”

    A UK government spokesperson said the latest French position was “not what we would expect from a close ally and partner.”

    “The measures being threatened do not appear to be compatible with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and wider international law, and, if carried through, will be met with an appropriate and calibrated response,” the spokesperson added. “We will be relaying our concerns to the EU Commission and French government.”

    French maritime minister says ‘enough’

    Annick Girardin tweeted out “It has been 9 months since French fishermen can no longer work. It is a breach of their signature by the British. That’s enough.”

    ‘This [the fishing row] has the potential to go explosively large’

    Speaking on Sky News, Adam Parsons said this may look like a small dispute, but this is about fishing “which is totemically important for France and Britain.”

    He continued: “It also comes at a time with the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol. This has the potential to go explosively large, with relations between Britain and France are deteriorating before our eyes.”

    Brexit’s impact on the economy is worse than Covid

    Richard Hughes, the chairman of the UK fiscal watchdog, said to the BBC that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had assumed leaving the EU would “reduce our long run GDP by around 4 percent.”

    And that the effect of the pandemic will reduce that [GDP] output by a further 2%.

    GDP is a measure of the size of the economy.

    “In the long term it is the case that Brexit has a bigger impact than the pandemic.”

    Why is there a fishing row?

    France is furious that Britain has refused to grant its fishermen the full number of licences to operate inside British water.

    As a result, France cracked down fishing measures in retaliation and wrote a list of sanctions that could come into place from November.

    Those measures include additional customs checks on goods entering through France’s border and prohibiting British fishing boats from unloading in several French ports.

    They may also step up border and sanitary checks on goods from Britain, deny its fishing boats access to designated ports, and tighten checks on trucks travelling between the two countries.

    Negotiations between Britain and the European Commission have continued this week.

    Patience in Paris is waning as they say Britain has failed “to honour its word since Brexit, over fishing.”

    Downing Street vowed to retaliate against France if Paris goes ahead with the “disappointing and disproportionate” threat of sanctions.

    No 10 said the threats are not compatible with international law and vowed an “appropriate and calibrated response” if Paris does not back down.

    France seizes a British trawler

    France has issued a verbal warning to a UK trawler as a row over post-Brexit fishing rights erupts.

    French maritime minister Annick Girardin said on Twitte: “This Wednesday, two English ships were fined during checks off Le Havre.

    The first did not comply spontaneously: verbalization.

    The second did not have a licence to fish in our waters: diverted to the quay and handed over to the judicial authority.”

    She said that the trawlers were rerouted to the port of Le Havre under a maritime police escort.

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