Maros Sefcovic, vice president of European Commission, gestures during a news conference in London, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. Top U.K. and European Union officials are meeting Friday to try to resolve their intractable Northern Ireland trade spat. David Frost for Britain and Maros Sefcovic for the EU are meeting in London after four weeks of negotiations failed to bridge gaps over Northern Ireland trade. (Hollie Adams, Pool via AP)
UPDATED 8:01 AM PT – Thursday, November 18, 2021
The U.K.’s top Brexit negotiator, David Frost, said a deal to keep the border open between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is still possible to achieve.
“If we can’t get that agreement then Article 16 is a legitimate part of the protocol and obviously it’s very much on the table if we get to that point,” he stated.
Frost told reporters on Wednesday, Britain and the European Union are both working hard to maintain the free movement of people, goods and services on the island. However, he said there are a few sticking points left.
The U.K. has established border checks between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit, but the European Union opposes any form of border controls in Ireland.
“So we’re working very hard to see if we can get a deal,” said Frost. “We’ve always made clear that it’s best to see if we can find an agreement that everybody can then get behind and that’s what we’re working hard to do.”
European Union officials said if the deal for Northern Ireland falls through, it may impose restrictions on trade with the U.K., which could lead to a full blown trade war.