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The EU would be wise to delay any precipitant action until after the N. Ireland assembly elections, due, at the latest by next May. The DUP are desperately trying to portray themselves as the defenders of N. Ireland against the evils of the EU, and any actions before the election would play into their hands.

That is, of course, unless the UK invokes article 16 of the Protocol, which effectively suspends it until further arbitration. Article 16 also allows the other side to retaliate, which would be the ideal context for the EU to start playing hard ball.

But so far the suspension of the controls required by the Protocol hasn't had any measurable impact on the Single Market as such, and no immediate action is required. It is a case of slowly, slowly  catchy monkey, as the new status quo is consolidated and as new supply chains bypassing Britain are established.

By the time the N. Ireland Assembly gets to vote on the continuance of the Protocol in 2024, the status quo and economic stability will require minimal disruption to existing arrangements. The centre ground should have moved more in the protocol''s favour.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 1st, 2021 at 06:24:52 PM EST

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