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UK says ‘deal needs to be done’ to resolve feud with EU

The British Foreign Secretary has expressed optimism that there is an “agreement to be reached” to resolve a trade dispute in Northern Ireland which has soured UK relations with the European Union.

LONDON – Britain’s Foreign Secretary expressed optimism on Friday that there is a ‘deal to be done’ to resolve a trade dispute in Northern Ireland that has deteriorated UK relations with the Union European.

Foreign Minister Liz Truss adopted an optimistic tone after her first round of talks with European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator.

“We have had constructive discussions with the EU. We will now enter into intensive negotiations to work towards a negotiated solution to address these very real issues for the people of Northern Ireland, ”Truss told broadcasters.

In a brief joint statement, Truss and Sefcovic said their talks had been “cordial” and that they had agreed to meet again on January 24 after “intensified” talks between their officials next week.

Since Britain left the 27-nation bloc in 2020, relations have deteriorated with Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that shares a border with an EU member. As part of the divorce deal, the two sides agreed to keep Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market without EU tariffs for goods in order to keep an open border on the island. of Ireland – a key pillar of the Northern Ireland peace process.

This created a new customs border in the Irish Sea for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, even though they are part of the same country.

The deal has created red tape and supply problems for some companies, and has angered British Unionists in Northern Ireland, who say the controls are undermining Northern Ireland’s place in the UK. United and destabilize the delicate political balance on which peace rests.

Truss was appointed the UK’s chief negotiator for the EU last month after Brexit Minister David Frost left, citing his disillusion with the policies of the Conservative government.

Brexit negotiations have made limited progress under Frost, seen by many European officials as a supporter of the uncompromising hard line. Truss adopted a warmer tone, although she maintained Britain’s insistence that the EU remove its highest court from its role in resolving any dispute over the Brexit deal – a idea that the block categorically rejects.

The UK is seeking major changes to the provisions and has threatened to use an emergency break clause to suspend parts of the legally binding Brexit divorce deal if no solution is found. This would trigger retaliation from the EU and could escalate into a trade war between the UK and the 27-nation bloc.

The EU has accused Britain of failing to respond positively to its “far-reaching proposals” to ease the burden on Northern Irish businesses.

“I think there is an agreement to be made. I want to make progress, ”Truss said. “Clearly, if we don’t make enough progress we will have to look at the alternatives, but my absolute desire is to get a deal that works for the people of Northern Ireland. “


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