Biden official orders UK to drop ‘anti-EU rhetoric’ ahead of Brexit meeting with Sefcovic

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The EU Commission vice president will be in Washington this week to have one-on-ones with senior figures of the US Congress. Among others, Mr Sefcovic will meet Brendan Boyle, the head of the EU Caucus on Capitol Hill to discuss the ongoing Brexit talks.

Ahead of their meeting, the US Congressman has urged the UK to reach a solution to the Northern Ireland Protocol impasse.

He argued the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine should serve as an encouragement for Britain to clamp down on anti-EU rhetorics in the country.

Speaking to Politico, he said: “If there’s one thing this war puts into perspective, it’s the danger of constantly trying to spark divisions with European neighbours and allies.

“It’s time for all of us in the West to be united, so I hope that we will see a tampering down of the anti-EU rhetoric from Britain.”

On Sunday, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol are “unlikely to be resolved” before the Stormont elections.

The Taoiseach urged that channels of communication remain open between the UK and EU on efforts to solve the impasse.

He said that he did not discuss with Prime Minister Boris Johnson the collapse of the Stormont Executive, but about the broader need for stability, adding “this will be an issue that we will return to”.

First Minister, Paul Givan, resigned earlier this year as part of a DUP protest against the protocol.

This has resulted in the Executive not being able to fully function, and unable to pass the planned multi-year budget.

DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said on Friday his party would not re-enter the Stormont Executive until the UK Government acts to “protect Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom”.

The Taoiseach and Prime Minister appeared to take different views of their meeting on Saturday.

Mr Johnson told Mr Martin “significant changes” are still needed with the protocol – after Mr Martin said there is an increasing view that it is working.

Asked about the stances on Sunday, Mr Martin responded: “It’s fair to say we’ve had different perspectives on this for quite some time.

“I did make the point to him when I speak to industrialists or business people in the north, nobody wants to cut off access to the European single market because it is advantageous to various sectors of the Northern Ireland economy.”

He said both agreed that the negotiation process between European Commission vice president, Maros Sefcovic, and Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, should be pursued, adding “we support the resolution of this”.

“Already the European Union has put forward proposals that present a significant change to how the protocol would operate. That’s already happened in respect of proposals that have been made and Europe has displayed very significant goodwill towards resolving this and that good will maintains,” he said.

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Asked about the stances on Sunday, Mr Martin responded: “It’s fair to say we’ve had different perspectives on this for quite some time.

“I did make the point to him when I speak to industrialists or business people in the north, nobody wants to cut off access to the European single market because it is advantageous to various sectors of the Northern Ireland economy.”

He said both agreed that the negotiation process between European Commission vice president, Maros Sefcovic, and Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, should be pursued, adding “we support the resolution of this”.

“Already the European Union has put forward proposals that present a significant change to how the protocol would operate. That’s already happened in respect of proposals that have been made and Europe has displayed very significant goodwill towards resolving this and that good will maintains,” he said.

But the Taoiseach said he does not believe issues around the protocol will be resolved before the Stormont Assembly elections in May.

“There are elections coming in May in Northern Ireland. In my view, we should keep the channels going. I am not of a view they will (things change before the election). I think we should concentrate on our response to Ukraine,” he told the BBC.

“Progress has been made despite what you may hear. There has been a lot of positions put forward by the European Union that would reduce the levels of checks.

“I would say that Maros Sefcovic has put forward a lot of sensible compromises and their mindset is really to work to resolve this, and I believe the Foreign Secretary is in a similar mode of thought.”

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