Raab Plans Northern Ireland Trip in Bid to End Brexit Impasse

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will head to Northern Ireland on Friday as the British government seeks to inject some momentum into its divorce talks with the European Union.

Raab’s visit will be his first to the highly sensitive Irish border region as Brexit Secretary and it is intended to restart high level political engagement in the negotiations, a government official said.

Key Insights

  • Talks have been stuck for months over the question of how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland -- which is part of the U.K. -- and the Irish Republic, an EU member.
  • Raab has been criticized by political opponents for not traveling to the Irish border since entering May’s cabinet in July. Officials hope his visit will demonstrate goodwill and engagement in the issue.
  • Negotiations have taken a back seat in London and Brussels this week, as both sides wait for Prime Minister Theresa May’s budget to be approved in Parliament

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  • May’s Cabinet is divided over the best plan for the so called backstop, a legal text designed to make sure there are never any customs checks on the land frontier between the U.K. and Ireland.
  • Britain is still aiming to sign a deal with the EU at a special summit in November, although European leaders are waiting for more progress to be made before agreeing to schedule such an event.

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