Brexit LIVE: UK nears major breakthrough in hated NI deal after EU files legal action

Brexit: Femi Oluwole clashes with Ben Habib on NI Protocol

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The two sides are on the brink of agreeing exactly how to apply post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, as the current deal has repeatedly been branded unworkable. Officials have undergone days of intensive talks in an attempt to resolve the outstanding issues regarding the controversial protocol, which dictates how goods are transported between the region and Britain.

Brexit chief David Frost and his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic are expected to meet to review the progress in the coming days.

One EU diplomat told the Financial Times: “They are advancing on a technical level and probably we will see a [Frost-Sefcovic] meeting rather sooner than later.”

A British official added: “The mood seems to have warmed up a bit — the tone of the discussions is quite good.”

The progress in the talks comes after Brussels launched legal action against the UK last month, over its alleged breach of the Northern Ireland protocol.

The EU took aim at the UK after Boris Johnson’s Government changed how the protocol was being implemented – without prior agreement from the bloc.

The Government unilaterally extended waivers for traders from some aspects of the rules.

They also delayed the introduction of new sea border checks on food, parcels and pets.

In response, the European Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the UK saying these actions breach the substantive provisions of the protocol as well as the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement.

It gave the UK a month to respond, before the bloc decides whether to take further legal steps.

If the matter is not resolved, the UK may have to defend its actions at the European Court of Justice.

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