EU's Maros Sefcovic fires back at Liz Truss over Northern Ireland Protocol move: 'Unilateral actions are not acceptable!'

His comments come after Ms Truss set out plans to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol

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European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said he had “significant concerns” about the plan set out by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to deal with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Sefcovic also warned that “unilateral actions are not acceptable", before warning that Brussels could retaliate.

He said: “Should the UK decide to move ahead with a bill disapplying constitutive elements of the Protocol as announced today by the UK Government, the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.

“Our overarching objective is to find joint solutions within the framework of the Protocol.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic
Liz Truss
Liz Truss

"That is the way to ensure legal certainty and predictability for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

“With political will and commitment, practical issues arising from the implementation of the protocol in Northern Ireland can be resolved.

“The European Commission stands ready to continue playing its part, as it has from the outset.”

His comments come after the EU threatened an escalatory response against the UK should they change elements of their post-Brexit deal with Northern Ireland.

Following the threats, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the EU there is no need for "drama" as he doubled down on hints he could override elements of the deal.

The PM also dismissed suggestions of any possible response from the EU as “crazy”.

But earlier today, Ms Truss set out plans to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, causing the EU to hit back.

During a speech in the House of Commons, Ms Truss said the Good Friday Agreement is “under strain”, adding: “Regrettably, the Northern Ireland Executive has not been fully functioning since early February.

“This is because the Northern Ireland Protocol does not have the support necessary in one part of the community in Northern Ireland."

She added that the UK’s preference is to “reach a negotiated outcome” with the EU, while also insisting that the proposed bill is "consistent with our obligations in international law".

Ms Truss confirmed that the new bill is not "about scrapping the Protocol", adding: “our aim is to deliver on the Protocol’s objectives."