EU hatches fresh plot with Emmanuel Macron to blindside Liz Truss in Brexit talks TONIGHT

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EU Commissioner Maros Sefcovic has reportedly been calling French ministers on Tuesday night in a bid to come up with new plans to force Britain to cave in on post-Brexit fishing licences.

A Commission source told Politico that a “limited number of specific cases” are still on the table and they will work on negotiations until every licence has been granted by the UK.

It comes as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will seek to inject momentum into talks with the European Union to resolve post-Brexit disputes over trading rules, hosting Mr Sefcovic at her official country house on Thursday night.

Ms Truss last month took over the long-running negotiations on the implementation of the rules governing trade between Britain, its province Northern Ireland, and EU-member Ireland – an agreement Britain signed but now says is not workable in practice.

“The EU has a clear responsibility to help fix the myriad problems caused by the Protocol,” Ms Truss said in a statement ahead of what will be her first face-to-face negotiation with Mr Sefcovic.

“As fellow believers in liberty and democracy, we should be capable of reaching an agreement that delivers for Northern Ireland and allows us to unleash the full potential of our relationship.”

In the bucolic surroundings of the Chevening residence in Kent, south of London, the delegations will negotiate over three sessions and share a dinner of Scottish smoked salmon, Welsh lamb and English apple pie.

The change of scenery does not mean a change of approach, however.

Ms Truss’s position picks up where her predecessor David Frost, who quit in December over differences with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on domestic policy, left off.

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She called for a pragmatic approach from the EU.

The EU maintains it has sought to resolve the issues, and on Sunday expressed frustration that Ms Truss had used a newspaper article to repeat the UK’s willingness to unilaterally suspend the deal.

A European Commission spokesperson on Monday highlighted the bloc’s recent proposals to reduce customs paperwork and checks on agri-food products.

“We are committed to finding long-term permanent solutions,” the spokesperson said.

“We have demonstrated time and time again that we are capable of coming forward with solutions that work and we have also shown that we stick to our promises.”

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The protocol prevented a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, but introduced new trade barriers in the Irish sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

While the EU has given concessions on its operation, notably to ease the flow of medicines, these have not satisfied many who oppose it.

The DUP has said the arrangement is not sustainable because it does not have the support of the unionist community.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has told Conservative MPs on the backbench 1922 Committee that the Northern Ireland Protocol is a “good deal for Brussels, but a bad deal for the UK”.

Sir Jeffrey said members of the 1922 Committee expressed “clear concern” over the continued role of the European Union in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom.

He added: “Without any input whatsoever from representatives of the UK, Northern Ireland is required to implement EU law and is subject to the jurisdiction of the EU courts.

“The current temporary grace periods may be shielding Northern Ireland from the full economic devastation of the protocol, but at a current cost to our economy of £2.5 million each day, businesses across the United Kingdom cannot sustain the continued imposition of the protocol.

“There was a clear understanding from the 1922 Committee, that the protocol was imposed upon Northern Ireland without the support of its people and a clear recognition that even those parties in Northern Ireland who previously argued for its ‘rigorous implementation’ now accept that the current arrangements are unworkable.

“The wrongs of the protocol must be righted as quickly as possible and I welcome the strong words of support from across the Conservative Parliamentary Party to reverse the damaging consequences of the current arrangements. Now is the time for action

“Parliament will play a vital role in restoring Northern Ireland’s place within the internal market of the United Kingdom in line with the Government’s Command Paper and guarantee to the people of Northern Ireland in the New Decade, New Approach Agreement.

“Later this week the Foreign Secretary will be meeting the European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, in which rapid progress to remove the Irish Sea border must be achieved.

“The support of Conservative MPs to ensure the Government imminently delivers upon its commitments would represent important progress.”

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