EU's Von der Leyen woos Ireland's Micheal Martin as Liz Truss prepares for crunch Brexit meeting

"The EU and Ireland are on the same page: international agreements cannot be disapplied unilaterally," Ms von der Leyen warns Britain

Published

The European Union and Ireland are presenting a united front over the Northern Ireland Protocol row between Britain and the EU27.

It comes ahead of a crunch Brexit meeting in Turin tomorrow, between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on the phone with Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin about the matter, claiming that Ireland and the EU "are on the same page".

Ms von der Leyen tweeted: "Good conversation with @MichaelMartinTD on the Protocol.

Taoiseach Michael Martin.
Taoiseach Michael Martin.

"The EU and Ireland are on the same page: international agreements cannot be disapplied unilaterally. "

She concluded the tweet with: "The UK needs to work with us to find joint, workable solutions.

"The @EU_Commission is playing its part."

This comes after Ms Truss told the Commons she intends to bring forward a Bill to scrap the Protocol within weeks, in an effort to reduce “unnecessary bureaucracy” and protect the Good Friday Agreement.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

Asked about the move on Wednesday, she said it would be “very positive” if the UK and EU could negotiate a solution in parallel to the Bill’s progression through Parliament, and write this into the legislation.

But she said the plans to rewrite parts of the deal to address the “very severe” situation in the region cannot be delayed.

However, Mr Coveney has publicly declared the Ireland the EU are opposed to any unilateral action from Britain.

Quote tweeting Ms von der Leyen, Mr Coveney said: "I look forward to meeting @trussliz tomorrow in Turin.

"The message from #Ireland and #EU is clear: UK unilateral action is not the way to build trust and solve problems, partnership is", he said.

"EU remains ready to engage seriously but we need a partner."

This afternoon, the EU’s ambassador to the UK Joao Vale de Almeida said there was “untapped potential” in the proposals Brussels had put forward to resolve the row over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit arrangements.

He said: “The potential of those proposals is not yet exhausted. There is untapped potential in those proposals for us to find the solution – provided that we are focused on finding the solutions.”

The EU “is committed to contribute to solutions for the problems that we recognise exist in implementing the protocol, but we cannot renegotiate the Protocol”.

“The ink of the signatures is hardly dry,” he said. “We negotiated for a long time, there is no real alternative to it.”

The solutions to the issues had to be found “within the limits of the Protocol”, he added.