NI Protocol: Proposal to use Article 16 over vaccines a disaster - EU aide
By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor
A European Commission proposal to suspend part of the Northern Ireland Protocol in a row with the UK over vaccines was a "political disaster", a senior EU figure has said.
Stefaan De Rynck - senior advisor to the EU chief Brexit negotiator - made the statement in a new book.
The proposal to use the Article 16 mechanism came during a row about AstraZeneca Covid vaccine supplies.
The commission proposed using it as part of a package of export controls.
It never implemented the proposal after a backlash from the Irish government and other politicians.
The episode in January 2021 is seen by some commentators as hardening unionists' opposition to the protocol.
The protocol guarantees an open border between the EU and Northern Ireland, with no controls on exported products.
However, Article 16 of the deal allows the EU or UK to suspend any aspects they consider are causing "economic, societal or environmental difficulties".
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