Brussels hints that talks will not include removal of EU judges from the Northern Ireland protocol

Brussels has signaled it is not ready to bow to UK demands to discuss removing European judges’ oversight from the Northern Ireland Protocol as post-Brexit negotiations continue.

The EU said a «very intense period of discussions» had begun, but indicated that it might not include the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The European Court of Justice’s stripping of the Brexit agreement has emerged as a major demand from the government as it seeks to ease trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Britain.

But EU proposals to cut red tape on trade in the Irish Sea did not meet the request of Brexit Minister David Frost, who is taking part in meetings in Brussels.

European Commission spokeswoman Ariana Podesta insisted the package proposed last week by the EU is broad and that talks would not go much further.

Asked if the talks would include the European Court of Justice this week, Podesta told reporters in Brussels: «We are following the package that we proposed on October 13 – it’s a far-reaching package.»

Frost meets with Maros Sefkovic, the Vice President of the European Commission who was the EU’s post-Brexit negotiator.

Sefkovic welcomed that «the two sides agreed to engage intensively and constructively at the expert and political levels,» according to a statement issued by the committee.

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«The EU seeks to focus on areas that are most important to the people and businesses of Northern Ireland, and where we can find common ground,» she added.

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«Quick joint solutions will bring the stability, certainty and predictability that Northern Ireland deserves, and ultimately protect the Good Friday Agreement (Belfast) in all its dimensions.»

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