Problems between UK and EU over the Irish Sea border have yet to be resolved, says Downing Street

Significant differences remain between the UK government and the European Union over the operation of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland, No 10 has said.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 8:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 9:50 am

Talks have continued between the two sides, with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic and Brexit minister Lord Frost picking up the phone on Friday.

But Downing Street said there are still major hurdles to be crossed in order to resolve the issues around the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Anger at the post-Brexit trading arrangements, which have effectively created economic barriers with the rest of the UK, have been cited as one of the factors behind violence that has erupted in loyalist areas in recent days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Lord Frost looks on as Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the EU-UK trade deal in 10 Downing Street last December. Lord Frost spoke to the European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic on Friday, but London said there are still hurdles to be crossed to resolve disputes around the Northern Ireland Protocol

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said “constructive” talks have been held with the EU about the arrangements.

“Technical engagement with the EU in relation to the protocol has continued in recent days,” he said. “(Maros) Sefcovic and Lord Frost spoke on Friday over the phone and we are in regular contact at all levels.

“The discussions have been constructive but there are still significant differences that need to be resolved.

“Both the EU and the UK are engaging with business, civil society and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland to understand the issues that they are facing.”

The government is committed to working through the issues to “restore confidence on the ground” in Northern Ireland, respecting the views of the communities and the Good Friday Agreement.

The protocol, designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, has resulted in extra checks on goods going from Great Britain to ensure they comply with EU rules.

——— ———

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe

Editor