LONDON ( Associated Press) – Britain’s foreign minister expressed optimism on Friday that an “agreement has to be made” to resolve Northern Ireland’s trade dispute that has strained the UK’s ties with the European Union.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss struck an upbeat tone after the first set of talks with European Commission Vice President Maros Sefovic, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator.
“We have had constructive dialogue with the European Union. We are now going into intense dialogue to work towards a negotiated solution to address these very real issues for the people of Northern Ireland,” Truss told broadcasters. Told.
In a brief joint statement, Truss and Sefkovic said their talks had been “cordial” and that they agreed to meet again on 24 January after “intense” talks between their officials the following week.
Since Britain left the 27-nation bloc in 2020, relations have soured over Northern Ireland, the only part of Britain that shares a border with an EU member. As part of the divorce deal, both sides agreed to place Northern Ireland within the EU’s tariff-free single market, in order to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland – a key to Northern Ireland’s peace process. column.
This created a new customs limit for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain in the Irish Sea, even if they were part of the same country.
The arrangement has brought red tape and supply problems to some businesses, and has angered Northern Ireland’s British federalists, who say the Czechs undermine Northern Ireland’s place in the UK and destabilize the delicate political balance. on which peace rests.
Truss was appointed Britain’s chief EU negotiator last month after Brexit minister David Frost stepped down citing disenchantment with the policies of the Conservative government.
Brexit negotiations made limited progress under Frost, regarded by many EU officials as a blatant hard-liner. The truss has struck a chord, though it has stuck to Britain’s insistence that the EU remove its top court from its role in resolving any dispute over the Brexit deal – an idea the bloc has flatly rejected. does.
The UK is calling for major changes to arrangements and has threatened to use an emergency break clause to suspend parts of the legally binding Brexit divorce agreement if no solution is found. This would trigger EU retaliation and could spiral into a trade war between the UK and the 27-nation bloc.
The European Union has accused Britain of failing to respond positively to its “far-reaching proposals” to ease the burden on Northern Ireland businesses.
“I think a deal has to be made. I want to make progress,” Truss said. work for the people of Northern Ireland.”
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