The two sides acknowledged on Friday that the latest round of contacts between the European Union and the United Kingdom to overcome differences over customs controls in Northern Ireland ended without much progress, with only a commitment to intensify discussions.
European Commission Vice President Marus Sivkovic and British Brexit Minister David Frost held a dinner and extended meeting Thursday evening in Brussels, after unrest in Northern Ireland raised fears that the repercussions of Brexit would destabilize the British boycott.
The European Union is accusing the UK of violating the Brexit agreement by maintaining unilateral border controls in Northern Ireland until October, and filing a lawsuit against London last month over the issue.
The European Union said in a statement released on Friday that this legal procedure would continue “as long as it is necessary”.
Sevkovic insisted during the meeting that solutions “can only be found through joint action and through joint bodies,” according to the European Union memo.
For its part, the British side indicated that the recent technical talks between Brussels and London “began to clarify the outstanding issues, and a positive momentum was achieved.”
But he admitted that “there are still a number of difficult issues and it is important to discuss them further.”
The United Kingdom agreed to “intensify” the talks and both sides said they would partner with business and civil society in Northern Ireland to try to mitigate any further consequences of Brexit.
The talks focus on a special protocol to the Brexit agreement aimed at preventing the implementation of a physical border between the British Territory of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is an EU member state.
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