EU Brexit negotiator falls at feet of Liz Truss ahead of key Northern Ireland Protocol meeting

Maros Sefcovic slips on an icy step upon his arrival for a meeting at Chevening

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The EU’s post-Brexit negotiator certainly left an impression as he fell for Liz Truss ahead of a key meeting.

Walking up icy steps at Chevening in Kent, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic slipped in front of the Foreign Secretary, as well as the Minister of State for Europe Christopher Heaton-Harris and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis.

Mr Sefcovic, meeting Ms Truss for their first face-to-face talks, seemed to take the fall in good spirits before entering the building to discuss issues around the Northern Ireland protocol.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (centre), Minister of State for Europe Christopher Heaton-Harris (left) and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis react as EU post-Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic slips on an icy step upon his arrival for a meeting at Chevening in Kent.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (centre), Minister of State for Europe Christopher Heaton-Harris (left) and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis react as EU post-Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic slips on an icy step upon his arrival for a meeting at Chevening in Kent.

Ahead of the meeting, she said the EU must show a “pragmatic approach” to the issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol, which effectively creates a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods crossing from Great Britain in order to prevent a hard border with Ireland.

Mr Sefcovic insisted the EU is committed to “stability” and “predictability” in Northern Ireland and said the talks offer the opportunity to build on progress made last month on the issue of medicines.

While at Chevening, he will be treated to a dinner of Scottish smoked salmon, Welsh lamb and apple pie made with fruit from Kent.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss greets European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss greets European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic

Ms Truss said: “There is a deal to be done that protects peace in Northern Ireland, defends our Union, and maintains the integrity of the United Kingdom and EU.

“But it will require a pragmatic approach from the EU.

“I will be putting forward practical, reasonable solutions starting from these fundamental principles, with a view to agreeing a plan for intensive negotiations.

“The EU has a clear responsibility to help fix the myriad problems caused by the protocol and protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

“As fellow believers in liberty and democracy, we should be capable of reaching an agreement that delivers for Northern Ireland and allows us to unleash the full potential of our relationship”.