Discussions between London and Brussels on the Northern Irish question

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is hosting European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in London on Monday in a bid to relaunch talks with the European Union aimed at resolving a dispute over their post-Brexit trade relations.

Technical discussions on the protocol on Northern Ireland resumed last October between British and European representatives, fueling hopes in London and parts of the EU that an agreement will be found on this issue which has strained relations between the two blocks since their divorce.

Established in the context of Brexit three years ago, the Northern Irish protocol provides for border controls on certain products delivered to the province from the rest of the United Kingdom.

If no progress is expected immediately, Monday’s meeting is seen as a possible boost to negotiations between London and Brussels. The British Foreign Office has indicated that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, will be present.

(Report Andrew MacAskill; French version Jean Terzian)

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