In a statement EU diplomats stated, countries in the EU are on the same page on the need for “robust” action against Britain if London were to follow through on its threat to escalate a post-Brexit trade dispute.
Over the course of the past months, the European Commission and Britain have held talks over trading arrangements for Northern Ireland, revolving around the necessary checks required for goods entering the EU territory from Britain.
These checks are essential in order to avoid introducing a hard border between the British province and Ireland, a member of the European Union.
On Wednesday, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic had briefed EU ambassadors in Brussels saying the EU-Britain talks were not going well, but that talks should continue.
In October, the European Commission had offered Britain a package of measures to ease transit of goods to Northern Ireland.
“The EU is preparing for the triggering of Article 16 by the UK. There is consensus among EU member states that such an arbitrary and unjustified move by the UK will be met with a clear European response,” said a EU diplomat.
As per EU diplomats, there was agreement across the 27 EU members that such a clear response would be needed.
While some stressed that the EU response should be “proportionate”, many opined that it should be “robust”.
“There is no point just being strung along,” said a EU diplomat.
The European Commission could potentially present possible options for action next week.
EU leaders could also convene to determine the EU’s robust response in the event Britain triggers Article 16.