MEP Maros Šefčovič collapsed before the Brexit talks began

The Brexit talks were literally on thin ice today – EU Maroš Šefčovič collapsed on a slippery step.

When he arrived in Chevening to negotiate with Liz Truss on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Mr Sefčovič almost arrived.

The Secretary of State and Ministers looked horrified when he almost lost his balance at the entrance to the stately home in Kent, but recovered quickly.

Mr Šefčovič tweeted pictures of the couple walking around the complex and said that they had an “opportunity” to solve critical problems.

Brexit’s divorce rules have been accused of inciting sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, with the DUP demanding that the protocol be removed altogether.

The UK government has threatened to invoke Article 16 and suspend the arrangements if Brussels does not agree to a deeper revision.

Maros Sefčovič almost lost his land when he arrived in Chevening to negotiate with Liz Truss on the Northern Ireland Protocol

Maros Sefčovič almost lost his land when he arrived in Chevening to negotiate with Liz Truss on the Northern Ireland Protocol

The EU Vice-President and Foreign Minister are meeting today at Kent Castle

The EU Vice-President and Foreign Minister are meeting today at Kent Castle

Mr Šefčovič tweeted pictures of the pair walking around the property and said that they had an “opportunity” to solve critical problems.

Speaking before the meeting, Ms Truss said: “An agreement needs to be reached that protects peace in Northern Ireland, protects our Union and preserves the integrity of the United Kingdom and the EU. But it will require a pragmatic approach by the EU.

“I will propose practical, sensible solutions based on these basic principles in order to agree on a plan for intensive negotiations.

“The EU has a clear responsibility to help remedy the myriad problems caused by the protocol and to protect the Good Friday Agreement.”

Boris Johnson transferred responsibility for Brexit to Mrs. Truss last month after the resignation of Brexit Minister Lord Frost due to differences in politics.

Lord Frost, who negotiated the original Brexit agreement, took a tough approach to the negotiations, which brought a number of concessions, but which some also accused of worsening the mood on central issues.

One State Department source said the new approach would be “carrots and whips, but more carrots than whips.”

With 115 rooms in Kent, Chevening is one of the most magnificent properties in government books.

Mr Sefčovič and his team are invited this evening to a ‘political dinner’ hosted by Mrs Truss, where they will be served Scottish smoked salmon, Welsh lamb and Kent apple pie.

Further negotiations will continue tomorrow morning before Mr Šefčovič returns to Brussels.

Officials hope that Mrs Truss’s new proposals will then serve as the basis for two weeks of intensive negotiations before the next political meeting later this month, probably in Brussels.

The source said he wanted to “focus on more practical solutions to problems that affect people on the ground.”

Downing Street said the UK still believed the conditions for activating Article 16 – the unilateral suspension of parts of the treaty – had been met, but the government was still concentrating on trying to resolve the issues through talks.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We must resolve the issues in the protocol in order to protect the Belfast agreement and the peace process.

“The Foreign Minister will present practical and sensible solutions with a view to agreeing on a plan for intensive negotiations.

The Foreign Minister is hosting Mr Šefčovič at a two-day summit at her official rural residence, Chevening (pictured), as she tries to end border disputes threatening to destabilize the province.

The Foreign Minister is hosting Mr Šefčovič at a two-day summit at her official rural residence, Chevening (pictured), as she tries to end border disputes threatening to destabilize the province.

“We very much believe that an agreement must be reached, but the EU must show pragmatism.

“It remains our strong priority to reach a negotiated solution, which is what we are trying to achieve today.”

Mr. Šefčovič tweeted: “In December we delivered medicines. We now have the opportunity to do so on other issues, following on from the EU’s far-reaching proposals. My goal: stability, predictability in NI. “

A State Department source said the key principles set out by Lord Frost would remain in place, with a view to facilitating the flow of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland by reducing paperwork and controls and ensuring that the European Court of Justice was not “final”. dispute arbitrator.

Under the Brexit Agreement, Northern Ireland has gained free access to the EU’s single market to avoid the need for a solid border on the island of Ireland.

However, this has led to the introduction of difficult EU controls on goods crossing the UK via the Irish Sea.

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