Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

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Northern Ireland trade: Breakthrough on row over border

2 min read

David Frost: EU sometimes appears to 'not want' UK success

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Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator said there is potential momentum and welcomed “intensive and constructive talks” yesterday. After meeting European Commission vice president Maros Sefvovic in Brussels, Lord Frost said: “There is the potential to generate some momentum in our discussions. “In this context, I welcome the vice president’s  acknowledgement that the protocol had led to unintended consequences in Northern Ireland. Addressing these continues to be the urgent task before us.”

Brussels welcomed the UK Government’s “change in tone”. The EU said: “We now need to press on and get this crucial issue across the line. This is a real test of political goodwill. The EU, for its part, is confident that our proposed solution, addressing all concerns raised by industry, would bring much needed clarity and foster a positive political momentum.”

It said discussions should “aim to significantly reduce, not to eliminate, customs processes”.

Earlier, Cabinet minister Michael Gove insisted progress can be made without triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Speaking at the British-Irish Council summit in Cardiff, he said: “While, of course, it’s always possible that Article 16 may require to be invoked, we’re confident that we’ll be able to make progress without it.”

Irish premier Micheal Martin said there is “a genuine desire” to resolve the protocol dispute.

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