Truss and Sefcovic discuss Northern Ireland Protocol row in ‘constructive’ talks

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Truss And Sefcovic Discuss Northern Ireland Protocol Row In ‘Constructive’ Talks Truss And Sefcovic Discuss Northern Ireland Protocol Row In ‘Constructive’ Talks
The European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic and British foreign secretary Liz Truss will meet again next week. Photo: PA Images
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David Hughes, PA Political Editor

The European Union and UK will continue “intensive discussions” to resolve the deadlock over the North’s post-Brexit trade arrangements, the British foreign secretary has said.

Liz Truss met European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic in Brussels on Monday 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 Mr Sefcovic and Ms Truss 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”.

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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 Mr Sefcovic and Ms Truss “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 – claiming it is hampering the free movement of goods between the North and the rest of the UK.

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