The EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland Brexit inspections have failed to break the deadlock.
The talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Northern Ireland’s implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement ended without a breakthrough.
Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, said they had a “frank and honest” discussion and decided to continue negotiations after a three-and-a-half hour meeting with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic.
“There were no breakthroughs,” says the narrator. There haven’t been any breakdowns, and we’re going to keep talking,” he added.
The meeting took place amid ongoing concerns about checks on products coming to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, which are necessary under the rules of the agreement’s Northern Ireland Protocol.
The EU is insistent that we carry out the protocol in an absolutely strict manner.
Lord Frost declined to rule out the possibility that the UK may unilaterally postpone the implementation of chilled meat checks, which are set to begin at the end of the month if no deal is reached before then.
Mr Sefcovic warned ahead of the conference that such a move might spark a trade war, saying the EU would react “firmly and resolutely” if the UK failed to satisfy its international treaty responsibilities.
“Obviously, we did discuss that matter among many others today,” Lord Frost stated. There were no breakthroughs on it, and we are still weighing all of our choices on it and many other issues.”
“What we really need to do now is find some answers that support the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, support the Northern Ireland peace process, and allow things to return to normal,” he added.
More negotiations are urgently needed in order to make significant progress, especially to avoid disruptions in crucial supplies such as pharmaceuticals.
“What the EU wants is for us to operate the protocol in a very purist manner. In actuality, it’s a well-balanced statement intended to aid the peace effort while also addressing the delicate politics of Northern Ireland.
“Obviously, finding a negotiated arrangement is the best option. (This is a brief piece.)