Support 100 years of independent journalism.

Why the EU Article 16 debacle sets a dangerous precedent for the UK

A bungled attempt to trigger the “nuclear option” over Covid vaccines proves the EU misunderstands Irish border issues. 

The European Commission has rowed back on their “hugely inflammatory” attempt to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol, after outcry from the British and Irish governments. The fact that it was even suggested in the first place exposes a misunderstanding of the Irish border on the part of the EU, and sets a dangerous precedent. 

On this week’s New Statesman Podcast, Stephen Bush, Anoosh Chakelian and Ailbhe Rea discuss why the decision to invoke the clause was made, and what its implications are. Then, in You Ask Us, they answer your questions on whether a nominally left-wing party can ever justify a closed border policy.

Further reading

Stephen writes that the EU doesn’t understand the Irish border any better than the Brexiteers do.

Ailbhe argues that by attempting to trigger Article 16, the EU has lost the moral high ground.

Anoosh has been following the cladding crisis, and reports here on the millions of people stuck in unsafe homes as a result.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

If you’re in the mood for more audio from the New Statesman, listen to World Review, a weekly global affairs podcast from our international editor Jeremy Cliffe in Berlin and our US editor Emily Tamkin in Washington, DC.

How to listen to the New Statesman podcast

1. In your browser

You can use the player above to listen in your browser right now. The New Statesman podcast publishes twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays. All episodes are published to newstatesman.com/podcasts on the day of release. Subscribers to the New Statesman can access episodes a day early, in our subscriber edition.

2. In a podcast app

The New Statesman podcast is available on all major podcast apps including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Acast, Google Podcasts, and more. Search ‘New Statesman podcast’ in your favourite podcast app, and subscribe or follow to make sure you receive episodes as soon as they publish. While you’re there, please leave a review for the podcast – it helps others find the show, which in turn makes it possible for us to keep making it.

3. On your smart speaker

If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod smart speaker, ask it to “play the latest episode of the New Statesman podcast”. The same command also works with virtual assistants on mobile devices.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up

Topics in this article: