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The UK and the EU will work to find solutions to the Northern Ireland Protocol

The European Commission and UK leaders agree to work to solve “very real problems” with the post-Brexit trade deal.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to work to resolve problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol, the post-Brexit trade deal, according to Sunak’s office.

Monday’s discussion at a meeting at the COP27 conference in Egypt came as Britain made a new call on Brussels to end the delay in granting access to scientific research from the European Union, as agreed in the trade deal. post-Brexit.

Sunak inherited from his predecessors the problem of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was designed to prevent a return to violence in Ireland by avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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So while Northern Ireland is still part of Great Britain, it is still part of the EU trading bloc. But that means reducing its trade with the rest of Britain, which is openly opposed by unionists who say it isolates the region from the rest of Britain.

The post-Brexit solution is cited as the Democratic Unionist Party’s main reason for refusing to share power again.

Instability in Northern Ireland has raised concerns in Dublin, Brussels and Washington and the dispute between Britain and the EU shows few signs of reaching a quick conclusion, despite signs of a more positive tone from the UK in The last weeks.

‘Good first meeting’

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister reiterated the need to find solutions to the very real problems he had created on the ground in Northern Ireland. They agreed on the importance of working together to agree on a resolution.”

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Von der Leyen called it a “good first meeting.”

“We face many common challenges, from addressing climate change and the energy transition to Russia’s war against Ukraine,” he tweeted. He said he looked forward to “constructive cooperation” between the two countries.

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This comes as Britain’s Europe Minister Leo Docherty, in a speech to British and European MPs in Westminster, is expected to say that by continuing to deny access to research programs like Horizon, the EU is breaching its end of the agreement. .

He will say both sides will benefit from cooperation on shared challenges, from climate change to global health to energy security.

“UK involvement would be a clear mutual benefit for the UK and the EU, but the UK cannot expect much more,” he will say, according to advance excerpts from his speech.

“The EU’s approach is causing intolerable uncertainty for our research and business communities.”

Working together

Although differences over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol have dominated the recent dialogue between London and Brussels, Docherty’s comments underscore that other sources of friction remain.

In his speech, however, he will emphasize how the war in Ukraine has shown the importance of the two sides working together.

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“A clear lesson from the last nine months has been that, despite the challenges in our relationship, the UK and the EU are effective allies where it matters most,” he will say.

“Ukrainians have stood firm against Vladimir Putin, in part due to the actions of our government and those of the entire EU.

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“That action has been stronger because it has been coordinated between us.

“I urge our European friends to continue to work with us to provide more weapons, impose more sanctions, and support Ukraine in driving out Russian forces.”

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