UK and EU to continue ‘intensive talks’ on NI Protocol

Liz Truss and Maros Sefcovic met in London in Friday.

11 February 2022

The EU and UK Government have said they will hold “intensive discussions” in the coming days as they continue to attempt to break the deadlock over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

EC vice president Maros Sefcovic and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met in London on Friday.

Ms Truss had earlier said finding a solution to the protocol dispute was an “absolute priority”,

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss meeting European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic (Rob Pinney/PA)

A brief joint statement released after the meeting said: “European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and the UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met on February 11 at Carlton Gardens in London.

“This was their third in-person meeting.

“They agreed on the need for progress in their talks in the interest of people in Northern Ireland, to stay in close touch and that officials will continue intensive discussions in the coming days.”

This comes after Northern Ireland was plunged into a fresh political upheaval last week when the DUP withdrew Paul Givan as first minister in protest at the deal.

Mr Givan said the protocol, which has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, had undermined a cornerstone of powersharing in the region – governance with the consent of both nationalists and unionists.

Boris Johnson signed the protocol with the EU as a measure to stop a hard border being erected, and jeopardising the peace process, on the island of Ireland.

But his Government is trying to renegotiate the deal, arguing that it is hampering the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland and damaging community relations.

Ahead of Friday’s talks, the Foreign Secretary said: “Fixing the Northern Ireland Protocol is an absolute priority for me.

“We have a shared responsibility with the EU to work towards solutions as quickly as possible that deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.

“I look forward to meeting vice-president Sefcovic in person again today.”

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