Ireland’s Foreign Minister has appealed for both sides to return to the negotiating table for the first time since February in an attempt to solve the row over post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland. He tweeted: “I last night spoke to @trussliz & look forward to seeing her in person in Italy later this week. I made clear that breaking international law is not the answer to solving Protocol issues. The EU/UK negotiating teams haven’t met since Feb. Time to get back to the table.”
Later today, Foreign Secretary Ms Truss is set to declare her intention to accelerate new legislation which rips up parts of the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal on Northern Ireland.
It is understood she will be making the announcement in a statement in the House of Commons following a full Cabinet meeting.
The move to rewrite parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol would risk swift retaliation from the EU, including the possibility of a trade war.
On Monday evening, Foreign Secretary Ms Truss held calls with Mr Coveney and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.
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In both, she underlined the importance of upholding the Good Friday Agreement and re-establishing the Northern Ireland Executive.
Shortly after his call, Mr Sefcovic once again said engaging with “flexibilities” offered by the EU would be the better option to taking unilateral action over the protocol.
He tweeted: “With political will, practical issues arising from the implementation of the protocol in Northern Ireland can be resolved.
“Engaging with us on the flexibilities we offer would be a better course of action than unilateral one.
“We’re ready to play our part, as from the outset.”
But Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis said although Britain will outline steps to tackle post-Brexit trade issues in Northern Ireland later today, it will not introduce a new law this week.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted his Government needs an “insurance” option to be able to unilaterally override some parts of the agreement with the EU.
The two sides are still attempting break the deadlock on the protocol, which sets the trading rules for Northern Ireland that the UK agreed before it left the EU but now says are unworkable.
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