British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will seek to inject new momentum into negotiations with the EU on resolving trade disputes after Brexit on Monday when he hosts European Commission Vice-President Maros Šefčovič in London. Optimism is growing in Britain and parts of the EU that a resolution to the long-running dispute that has overshadowed their relationship since Britain left the bloc three years ago is within reach.
In October, technical talks between officials resumed on the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit deal that mandated checks on some goods moving into the province from the rest of the UK. While Monday’s meeting of politicians is not expected to produce an immediate breakthrough, it is hoped that the latest talks will provide the impetus to further accelerate negotiations in the coming weeks.
The meeting will take place at Lancaster House and Northern Ireland Minister Chris Heaton-Harris is expected to attend, according to the British Foreign Office. The Northern Ireland Protocol was a key part of the Brexit deal agreed by former prime minister Boris Johnson, but UK prime ministers have refused to implement it.
To preserve the peace deal and avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, Britain agreed to effectively keep Northern Ireland in the bloc’s single market for goods as part of its exit from the EU. This required checks on some goods originating from the rest of the UK from January 2021.
However, the UK government has sought to ease many trade barriers since the protocol came into force, leading to accusations from the EU that it was trying to roll back the protocol.
By: Vaishali Verma