Northern Ireland news

Liz Truss and Maros Sefcovic hold ‘constructive' Brexit talks

European Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight Maros Sefcovic, right, walks with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, center, prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday January 24, 2022 (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP) 
David Hughes, PA Political Editor

The UK and European Union will continue “intensive discussions” to resolve the deadlock over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit arrangements, Liz Truss said.

The British foreign secretary met European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic in Brussels today for talks aimed at making progress on issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In a joint statement, the pair said there was a “constructive atmosphere” and they will meet again next week.

Officials will carry on talks this week before Ms Truss and Mr Sefcovic meet to take stock of the situation.

Ms Truss said the “teams continue intensive discussions”.

The joint statement said Monday’s meeting “took place in a constructive atmosphere with the aim to advance the talks”.

As well as the ongoing discussions, the EU-UK Joint Committee will meet in February. This will be the first time the panel, set up to oversee the implementation and application of the Brexit divorce deal, will have met since June.

The joint statement said Ms Truss and Mr Sefcovic “reaffirmed their shared desire for a positive EU-UK relationship underpinned by our shared belief in freedom and democracy, and co-operation on common global challenges”.

The British government is seeking substantial changes to the protocol – which forms part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement – arguing that it is hampering the free movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and damaging community relations.

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