15 May 2024

Cameron to hold post-Brexit talks in Brussels on Northern Ireland and Gibraltar

15 May 2024

Lord David Cameron is set to visit Brussels in a bid to strengthen the UK’s relationship with the EU and progress negotiations over Gibraltar’s post-Brexit trade arrangements.

The Foreign Secretary will chair a meeting of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement partnership council alongside European Commission executive vice president Maros Sefcovic.

Lord Cameron, who as prime minister held the Brexit referendum, is expected to welcome the close relationship the UK now shares with the European Union during the meeting on Thursday.

He will note the importance of the return of the devolved executive and assembly at Stormont earlier this year, following the Government’s Safeguarding the Union agreement.

The UK and EU leaders will also discuss progress on the Windsor Framework, the set of tweaks to post-Brexit checks on goods heading to the Republic of Ireland via Northern Ireland, as well as citizens’ rights and support for Ukraine.

The talks come amid a backdrop of continued political concerns about the EU’s influence in Northern Ireland, following a Belfast High Court ruling which stated that provisions of the Illegal Migration Act should be disapplied in Northern Ireland as they undermine human rights protections guaranteed in the region under post-Brexit arrangements.

Ministers have vowed to appeal against the ruling, which also said aspects of the Act were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Separately, European Commission proposals for a youth mobility agreement, which would allow young people easier access to study, work and live between the EU and UK, have been snubbed by the Government.

While in Brussels, Lord Cameron will continue talks on a UK-EU treaty on Gibraltar alongside Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares and Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

This will be the second meeting in this format.

The nature of Gibraltar’s long-term post-Brexit relationship with the EU remains unresolved.

Sticking points in negotiations reportedly include the rules that will govern Gibraltar’s border with Spain and the EU, and the Spanish seeking greater management over the territory’s airport.

The British overseas territory’s sovereignty is disputed by Britain and Spain.

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