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Britain resumes Brexit negotiations with EU in the new year


The top Brexit official of the European Union and the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom met on Thursday for negotiations on a contentious dispute over Northern Ireland trade. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called for the two parties to repair their relationship.

At Chevening House, the foreign secretary’s official country retreat in southeast England, Truss and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic met for discussions regarding Brexit.

Truss encouraged the European Union to take a “pragmatic approach” to resolving issues that have plagued the relationship since the United Kingdom exited the 27-nation group last year.

“As fellow believers in liberty and democracy, we should be able to strike a deal that benefits Northern Ireland while also allowing us to maximise the possibilities of our partnership,” she said.

Sefcovic said that he wants “stability” and “predictability” for Northern Ireland, which is the only portion of the United Kingdom that shares a border with a European Union member and has been at the core of the post-Brexit fighting.

To maintain an open border on the island of Ireland — a fundamental pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process — the two sides agreed as part of the divorce deal to retain Northern Ireland inside the EU’s tariff-free single market for goods.

Even though they are part of the same country, this created a new customs border in the Irish Sea for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The agreement has caused some firms to face red tape and supply issues, and it has enraged Northern Ireland’s British Unionists, who claim that the checks undermine Northern Ireland’s status in the United Kingdom and destabilise the delicate political balance that underpins peace.

After Brexit Minister David Frost resigned last month, expressing dissatisfaction with the Conservative government’s policy on matters such as taxation and COVID-19, Truss was named Britain’s senior EU negotiator.

Frost, who is viewed as an intransigent hardliner by many EU officials, made little progress in the Brexit negotiations. Truss has taken a more inviting tone, serving an all-British meal of Scottish smoked salmon, Welsh lamb, and Kent apple pie to Sefcovic.


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