UK's Liz Truss and EU vow 'intensive' talks over Northern Ireland Protocol

British government is trying renegotiate a protocol it signed to stop a hard border in Northern Ireland

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service / AP
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Britain and the EU have agreed to continue “intensive” discussions over Northern Ireland in the coming days.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and British Foreign Minister Liz Truss met in person for the third time on Friday and now the issue of resolving a deadlock over post-Brexit trading arrangements will be delegated to officials from both teams.

“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,” the two leaders said in a joint statement.

Ms Truss has said that finding a solution to the Northern Ireland Protocol dispute is an “absolute priority”.

Northern Ireland was plunged into new political upheaval last week when the DUP withdrew Paul Givan as first minister in protest against the deal.

Mr Givan said the protocol, which has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, undermined a cornerstone of power-sharing in the region between nationalists and unionists.

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

But Mr Johnson's government is trying to renegotiate the deal, saying it is hampering the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland and damaging community relations.

“Fixing the Northern Ireland Protocol is an absolute priority for me,” Ms Truss said.

“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.”

Updated: February 11, 2022, 4:41 PM
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