Liz Truss: There is a 'deal to be done' with EU on Brexit border rules

Liz Truss says there is a ‘deal to be done’ with Brussels on post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland after first meeting with her EU counterpart as she raises hopes of a breakthrough

  • Liz Truss was handed responsibility for Brexit talks after resignation of Lord Frost
  • Foreign Secretary met her EU counterpart for the first time for talks this week
  • She said afterwards that she believes there is a ‘deal to be done’ with the EU 

Liz Truss today said she believes there is a ‘deal to be done’ with the European Union over post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland. 

The Foreign Secretary was handed responsibility for Brexit negotiations following the resignation of Lord Frost from the Government in December. 

Ms Truss held her first meeting with her EU counterpart, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic, this week as they met for talks at her official residence at Chevening in Kent.

Ms Truss said after the negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol that they had agreed to hold further talks on January 24 as she raised hopes of a breakthrough. 

However, she also repeated the UK’s threat to unilaterally tear up border checks in Northern Ireland if the EU refuses to give ground.  

Liz Truss today said she believes there is a ‘deal to be done’ with the European Union over post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland

The protocol was negotiated as part of the Brexit deal to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

But unionists have been pressuring for it to be scrapped because of the trade barriers it has created on products crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain. 

The UK and EU remain locked in talks as they try to agree solutions to smooth the operation of the protocol but a breakthrough remains elusive. 

The UK has repeatedly threatened to trigger Article 16 of the protocol to tear up the border rules if the two sides cannot strike an agreement. 

Ms Truss said: ‘We have had constructive talks with the EU. We are now going to go into intensive negotiations to work towards a negotiated solution to sort out these very real issues for the people of Northern Ireland. 

‘I think there is a deal to be done. I do want to make progress. Clearly if we don’t make sufficient 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.’   

The UK is seeking substantial changes to the protocol, arguing that it is hampering the free movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and damaging community relations.

Ms Truss held her first meeting with her EU counterpart, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic, this week as they met for talks at her official residence at Chevening in Kent

In a joint statement, Ms Truss and Mr Sefcovic said: ‘The meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere. 

‘They agreed that officials would meet next week in intensified talks and that the principals would meet again on January 24.

‘We share a desire for a positive relationship between the EU and the UK underpinned by our shared belief in freedom and democracy.’ 

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