UK-EU relations at 'crossroads' after lack of 'substantive progress' in NI Protocol talks

Wed 9 Jun 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

The UK and EU are at a “crossroads” in their relationship after little “substantive progress” was made in today’s (9 June) talks over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, according to European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic.

Speaking at a press conference afterward the crunch meeting in London this morning, Sefcovic said that the EU’s trust was “wearing thin” and that “trust, which should be at the heart, needs to be restored”.

Trade war

Earlier, the UK’s minister for EU relations, Lord Frost, also said the talks had ended without an agreement but was adamant that they had not completely broken down, reports the BBC.

The UK has released a statement saying: “There is an urgent need for further discussions in order to make real progress, particularly to avoid disruption to critical supplies such as medicines.”

No progress

The statement listed areas where no substantive progress had been made, including:

  • Negotiations for a veterinary agreement or trusted trader scheme for agrifood trade
  • The upcoming imposition of restrictions on the trade of on sausages and chilled meats
  • Pet travel
  • Parcel movements

‘Frank and honest’

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the meeting lasted for three-and-a-half hours.

Frost said there was a “frank and honest discussion” but that there had been “no breakthroughs”.

The two sides have agreed to carry on speaking, however.

G7 focus

Frost is now travelling to Cornwall to accompany Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 summit, where EU leaders are expected to exert pressure over the failed talks.

US President Joe Biden is also said to have “deep” concerns that a UK-EU trade row could endanger peace in Northern Ireland, according to his national security adviser speaking to the BBC.

Best tool

The summit comes shortly after reports in the Mirror that the EU view pressure on the UK from the US President as their “best tool in the armoury”.

It claims that Biden is expected to publicly call for both sides to compromise.