UK now ‘seriously engaging’ in Northern Ireland Protocol talks, says Simon Coveney

Mr Coveney said reports of the resumption of EU-UK talks was 'positive news'
UK now ‘seriously engaging’ in Northern Ireland Protocol talks, says Simon Coveney

Thursday's talks will be the first between UK and EU representatives will be the first over the protocol since February. File Picture: PA

EU and UK officials are expected meet on Thursday to restart talks over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney confirmed that he would be meeting his UK counterpart James Cleverly tomorrow evening in London tomorrow evening.

He said he will also be co-chairing a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference with the UK's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris on Friday.

“We will be discussing these issues on how together we can solve the outstanding problems and frustrations with the Northern Ireland Protocol. Of course this is a negotiation between London and Brussels primarily, but obviously the Irish government has a central role to play in trying to find solutions."

The European Commission earlier this week confirmed the two sides will meet for technical level talks, adding the EU will approach them “constructively” and it remains “committed to finding joint solutions”.

Mr Coveney said reports of the resumption of EU-UK talks - the first such talks since mid-February - was "positive news." 

He also noted and welcomed the fact "mood music" around the negotiations had changed "quite fundamentally."

“The EU has shown a willingness to compromise, to try to respond to legitimate concerns that have been expressed in Northern Ireland, and it remains to be seen whether this new-look British Government is willing to make compromises to get a deal done.

“So this is a very welcome change of course that the British government is engaging now seriously, as opposed to moving ahead with unilateral action which would certainly have caused a lot more problems than it would have solved.”

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