This week, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said Brussels would “not be shy” in taking action to ensure that the UK abides by its international commitments. The warning comes after it was reported that the UK Government is unilaterally considering extending a “grace period” to allow Northern Irish shops to continue selling chilled meats – including sausages and mince – from Britain once the Brexit Northern Ireland protocol expires at the end of June.
The EU has five different retaliatory routes it could take to punish Britain if Mr Johnson decides to make the move.
It is believed the most severe punishment would be to hit Britain with legal proceedings and harsh tariffs.
Now, Britons have hit back against the EU threats claiming the bloc has shown time and time again they are “untrustworthy and dishonest”.
One Express.co.uk reader said: “Time and time again the EU shows us that they are untrustworthy and dishonest and time and time again we give them the benefit of the doubt.
“It has to stop!
“It is only the EU trying to impose a hard border on the island of Ireland, they’ve already triggered Article 16 once and then withdrawn it already and for what?”
Another person said: “Well if that’s all the options they have it doesn’t amount to much
“Bring it on the British will retaliate and let’s see who squeals first!
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“It is time to tell them where to go by ripping up the NI Protocol not just ‘extending things’.
“Under the Vienna Convention on treaties, the whole thing can be ripped up at any point when ‘bad faith’ is evident from one of the parties. Call the EU bluff.”
Another added: “The EU breaks international law and treaties.
“The triggering of Article 16 by the EU shows they can never be trusted.”
Many others called for Mr Johnson to pull out of the Northern Protocol or invoke Article 16.
One person said: “The EU doesn’t want a satisfactory resolution of the NI problem.
“Frost has suggested many solutions but all have been rejected.
“Time to pull out of the Protocol altogether as it stops NI being treated as part of the country.
“The EU used Article 16? I think it’s time the UK did so.”
If the UK failed to comply with the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, the case would go before the European Court of Justice.
If the ECJ ruled in favour of the EU and the UK still failed to comply with the ruling, Brussels could impose hefty tariffs on UK exports.
Such tariffs, also called “cross-sector retaliation,” could apply “to all areas” of the economic part of the post-Brexit trade deal, a Commission factsheet says.
Brussels could also decide to withdraw cooperation in areas of security and law enforcement.
Britain’s ambition to join the Lugano Convention – which defines which national courts have jurisdiction in cross-border cases – could be scuppered by the EU.
Furthermore, Brussels could prevent Britain from participating in research and innovation programmes, such as Horizon Europe.