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Final Brexit Hurdle: UK and EU Remain Deadlocked Over Northern Ireland Protocol

Following a four-hour meeting in London on Wednesday between UK-EU minister Lord David Frost and the European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, no breakthrough has been achieved.

Post-Brexit talks about the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee aimed to provide a framework for the smooth flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

London blames the Northern Ireland Protocol for ongoing trade issues, while Brussels Blames Brexit for the ongoing border struggle. The EU is concerned that goods entering its Single Market Area do not meet proper requirements.

UK and Brexit Minister Lord David Frost said London had a frank and honest discussion with the EU’s Sefcovic but claims the protocol is causing disruption.

“There weren’t any breakthroughs. There aren’t any breakdowns either and we’re going to carry on talking. What we really now need to do is very urgently find some solutions which support the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, support the peace process in Northern Ireland and allow things to return to normal,” Frost said.

Here are the UK statements about today's talks with the EU, principally on the NI Protocol.
No breakthroughs, but no breakdown either. But the issues are now becoming urgent and we now need to find solutions.

— David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) June 9, 2021

​The EU’s patience is wearing thin over the implementation of the NI protocol, according to Sefcovic, who spoke about the talks on 9 June.

"If the UK were to take further unilateral action in the coming weeks, the EU will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.

We should work hand-in-hand to write a new chapter in 🇪🇺🇬🇧 relations, based on trust.
My key message, as I travel to London, to meet @DavidGHFrost: to launch work of the Partnership Council + address IE/NI Protocol implementation in the Joint Committee.

— Maroš Šefčovič🇪🇺 (@MarosSefcovic) June 8, 2021

​He stressed that “agreements must be kept” and that trust between the UK and EU needs to be restored.

A senior UK source has reportedly suggested that nobody wants a trade war and that there's hope Brussels doesn't want to initiate retaliatory action. The source also reportedly claimed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will present London’s views on Northern Ireland during the G7 Summit, scheduled for 11–13 June in Cornwall.

US President Joe Biden, who isn't a supporter of Brexit, is expected to comment on the current UK-EU stalemate during the G7 meetings.

Britain and the EU have been puzzled by the difficulty in finding a practical solution to the NI border issues ever since the UK had left the bloc.

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