HomeEuropeUK and EU to keep talking after ‘constructive’ Northern Ireland Brexit meeting

UK and EU to keep talking after ‘constructive’ Northern Ireland Brexit meeting

LONDON — The EU and the U.K. will keep talking about how to ease the burden of post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, as the two sides stressed their desire to keep the relationship “positive.”

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and the U.K.’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss held their second meeting in Brussels Monday to discuss long-running differences over the Northern Ireland protocol.

At the meeting, which took place in a “constructive atmosphere” according to a joint statement, the two leaders “reaffirmed their shared desire for a positive EU-U.K. relationship underpinned by our shared belief in freedom and democracy and cooperation on common global challenges.”

Šefčovič and Truss agreed that the EU-U.K. Joint Committee, which oversees the implementation of the Brexit divorce deal, should meet next month, and agreed to take stock again next week.

The Northern Ireland protocol was drawn up to protect the EU’s single market post-Brexit while avoiding a politically-sensitive hard border between Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member country.

The protocol has proven deeply unpopular with Northern Ireland’s unionist politicians, while the U.K. government has argued it causes unnecessary bureaucracy for goods moving from Great Britain to the region.

Separately, Å efčovič met the Spanish foreign affairs minister to discuss EU-U.K. talks for a treaty setting out a post-Brexit framework for Gibraltar’s relationship with the bloc. “Our EU and Spanish teams continue to work hand-in-hand to advance the talks,” the EU’s Brexit point-man tweeted.

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