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EU raises spectre of trade war if UK rewrites Northern Ireland protocol

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theguardian.com

The European Commission has raised the spectre of an economically damaging trade war with the UK, pledging to respond with “all measures at its disposal” if Liz Truss presses ahead with a plan to rewrite the Northern Ireland protocol.The foreign secretary set out plans on Tuesday to table a bill that would make key changes to the protocol, including waiving all checks on goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland where they are not destined for the Republic of Ireland.She said the UK government still hoped to agree the changes it believes are necessary, calling these “comprehensive and reasonable”. “Our preference is to reach a negotiated outcome with the EU.

We have worked tirelessly to that end and will continue to do so,” she said.But she claimed the protocol in its current form jeopardised the stability of the Good Friday agreement, which she said was “under strain”, and the government would act unilaterally if necessary.“To respond to the very grave and serious situation in Northern Ireland we are clear that there is a necessity to act to ensure the institutions can be restored as soon as possible,” Truss said.Part of the government’s motivation is to placate the Democratic Unionist party, which is refusing to enter a power-sharing government with Sinn Féin at Stormont unless the protocol is altered.The DUP’s Westminster leader, Jeffrey Donaldson, said Truss’s statement was “a welcome if overdue step that is a significant move towards addressing the problems created by the protocol, and getting power-sharing, based upon a cross-community consensus, up and running again.”His party would like to see progress on the legislation “in days and weeks, not months,” he said.Truss called for the EU’s top official in

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