Liz Truss has said the European Union has a “clear responsibility” to fix the problems caused by Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit deal as she prepares for her first face-to-face talks with Maros Sefcovic.
The Foreign Secretary, who took over responsibility for the negotiations following Lord Frost’s resignation, will host European Commission Vice President Mr Sefcovic at his retreat in Chevening, Kent, for talks on Thursday and Friday.
He said the EU must take a “pragmatic approach” to the problems created by the Northern Ireland Protocol, which effectively creates a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods passing through Britain to avoid a hard border with Ireland.
Mr. Sefcovic will enjoy a dinner of Scottish smoked salmon, Welsh lamb and apple pie made with Kentish fruit.
Ms Truss said: “An agreement must be reached that protects peace in Northern Ireland, defends our Union and defends the integrity of the UK and the EU.
“But this will require a pragmatic approach from the EU.
“I will propose practical and reasonable solutions based on these fundamental principles, with a view to agreeing on a plan of intensive negotiations.
“The EU clearly has a responsibility to help resolve the myriad of problems caused by the Protocol and to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
“As staunch defenders of freedom and democracy, we should be able to reach an agreement that is beneficial to Northern Ireland and allows us to unlock the full potential of our relationship.”
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