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EU and UK to conclude ninth round of Brexit trade talks


EU and UK to conclude ninth round of Brexit trade talks

Photo: Virginia Mayo/AP

EU and UK negotiators will conclude the ninth official round of Brexit trade talks today, finalising another attempt to resolve disagreements over controversial clauses in the UK Internal Market Bill.

The bill would allow the UK to amend regulations of the trade of certain goods between the UK and Northern Ireland, which were established when the EU and the UK acceded to a legally binding Brexit “withdrawal agreement” signed in January. The UK House of Commons passed the bill in violation of international law, subsequently sending it to the House of Lords for debate in November.

The bill threatens to re-instigate conflict in Northern Ireland, where Brexit has already begun to resow divisions between Irish nationalists and unionists. Although the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, Northern Ireland voted to remain; meanwhile, nationalist far-left party Sinn Fein coasted to its first-ever victory in this year’s Irish general elections on the promise of unifying Ireland. Should the EU fail to dissuade the House of Lords from passing the bill come November, the UK could attempt to leverage its provisions to solidify power over Northern Ireland in the long-term—at the expense of further alienating Irish nationalists and EU leaders.

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