The UK and EU agreed on Friday to step up negotiations to find a compromise on the controversial trade deal after Northern Ireland’s Brexit, which has worsened relations between the two countries.
UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss and European EU Brexit Commissioner Maroš Chef Chovic After her first face-to-face discussion in the mansion of her elegance and favor at Kent’s chevening, she issued a joint statement praising the “hearty atmosphere”.
The tone is very different from last year. Sir David Frost, Britain’s Brexit negotiator who resigned in December, often focused on the differences between the two and regularly threatened them. Northern Ireland Protocol, Part of the UK withdrawal agreement with the EU, which governs trade between the UK and the region.
The United Kingdom is calling for a drastic review of the Protocol not only because it is blocking the flow of goods to Northern Ireland, but also because it is causing political insecurity in the region.
Truss and Sefkovich said UK and EU officials will hold an “enhanced talk” next week, with the UK Foreign Minister and the European Union Brexit Commission meeting on January 24.
“What I want is a negotiated solution, I think there is something to be done,” said Truss, who took responsibility for the UK negotiations with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol after Mr. Frost’s resignation. “We had a constructive discussion.”
Truss had previously stated that it could invoke Article 16 of the Protocol to suspend some of its provisions, but with more emphasis than Frost on reaching a compromise with the EU. increase.
“Obviously, if you don’t see enough progress, you need to consider alternatives, but my absolute hope is to win deals that help people,” she added.
People close to the talks between Truss and Sefkovich said authorities were not engaged in technical-level discussions on substantive issues at stake.Sefkovich Said on twitter: “Now let’s start solving the problem.”
Under the UK’s withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland remained in the EU’s single market to avoid the harsh borders of Ireland and maintain the peace process set out in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
The Northern Ireland Protocol instead places the border on the Irish Sea and requires customs and regulatory checks on goods going from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland.
In an attempt to compromise on the Protocol, the European Commission in October proposed reducing checks on animal and plant-based products by up to 80% and halving customs paperwork.
But the UK says something should be sent from Liverpool to Belfast as easily as sending something from Liverpool to Birmingham.
EU officials said the current negotiations involving Truss and Sefkovich represented a step after the process was stalled under Frost.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called for a compromise in the Northern Ireland Protocol long before the dissolution of the region’s divided parliament in March and the elections scheduled for May 5. ..
“In my understanding, both sides really just outlined their position,” he told RTÉ Radio. “There was no substantial progress in finding a landing zone at this stage, but I don’t think that was the purpose of this conference...“
“If possible, we hope these issues will be resolved by the end of February,” he added.
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UK and EU to strengthen negotiations on Northern Ireland trade agreements
Source link UK and EU to strengthen negotiations on Northern Ireland trade agreements