Britain and Brussels gearing up for “major reset” of Brexit agreement

Britain and Brussels may be gearing up for a “major reset” of the current Brexit agreement after a tricky start to post-Brexit relations, according to Ireland’s public broadcaster.

RTÉ’s Europe Editor, Tony Connelly tweeted on Friday that “very tentative discussions have been underway at a senior level between officials in Brussels and London” to address the “fractious start” to life after Brexit.

The bickering across the English Channel, and indeed the Irish Sea has not stopped following Britain’s withdrawal from the single market and customs union on December 31.

From Brussels’ ban on UK exports of live shellfish to a row over the status of EU diplomats on British soil. Reports of EU trawlers continuing to occupy Britain’s territorial waters to the infamous vaccine wars.

Arguably the most serious and increasingly intense disagreement is over the treatment of Northern Ireland.

Lord Frost’s replacement of Michael Gove as co-chair of the EU-UK Joint Committee has been viewed as an aggressive move by some observers, and Eurocrats are reportedly concerned that “unless there is a clear reset then the relationship could become one of perpetual tension,” according to Connelly.

There could be hard negotiations in the next few weeks after the deadline for formal ratification of the existing agreement was pushed back at the request of the European Commission to April 30 this week – the previous deadline had been Feburary 28.

The Irish broadcaster understands that little progress was made on the existing issues including the future arrangement in Northern Ireland at Wednesday’s meeting of the Joint Committee, with European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic requesting another meeting before the end of March.

His opponent by that point will be Lord Frost after taking over from Michael Gove from March 1.