“Come to your senses”, Germany urges Britain on N.Ireland

FILE PHOTO: European Affairs ministers meet in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth gestures as he speaks at the start of the European affairs ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, May 11, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

November 23, 2021

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany urged Britain on Tuesday to come to its senses by respecting its commitments under the Brexit divorce agreement with the European Union and resolve differences over Northern Ireland.

London has repeatedly threatened to trigger Article 16, an emergency brake in the Northern Ireland protocol, if talks about the British province’s trading position fail. Such a move could trigger a trade war between the EU and Britain.

“Dear friends in London and in Great Britain, come to your senses please,” German European Affairs Minister Michael Roth told reporters before a meeting with EU counterparts in Brussels.

Roth said the situation was “not a game”.

“We want, damn it, to work together as partners and friends. We don’t want to permanently argue about what we actually have agreed,” he continued.

The European Commission’s chief negotiator Maros Sefcovic said on Sunday that the European Union and Britain had made progress in talks, and that solutions could be found if London redoubled its efforts.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Editing by Kevin Liffey)