Von der Leyen on UK deal options: «Talks are very constructive».

Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission – Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Wednesday avoided answering whether she believes that the agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom to unblock the implementation of the protocol for Northern Ireland that they agreed after Brexit is close, but wanted to emphasize that there are «very constructive talks» underway based on a relationship of «trust».

«I can’t talk about partial elements (that may be agreed) because you never know until the end how the whole looks,» Von der Leyen responded at a press conference in Brussels, when asked about the chances of an agreement soon that includes concessions to the British on the role of the EU Court of Justice.

The head of the Community Executive has insisted on the «excellent relationship of trust» she has with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, which has allowed them to hold frequent talks since he took office in relief of Boris Johnson, with whom Brussels relations were very tense, which even went so far as to denounce before the Court of Justice of the EU the breach of the Northern Ireland protocol.

In this context, Von der Leyen explained that the negotiating teams «are working together to find solutions» and to define a common framework to ensure compliance with the Protocol designed to avoid a return to a physical border in the Ulster after the break-up with the EU.

The European Union and the British government agreed that, in order for the British province of Northern Ireland to remain part of the Single Market after Brexit – thus avoiding a return to a guarded border with Ireland – a series of controls and other provisions should be imposed on the passage of goods from Great Britain after the exit of the United Kingdom.

With the change of leadership in Downing Street, contacts have improved in tone between the parties and in progress, with first points of agreement being announced on elements such as extending the flexibility in controls on veterinary medicines.