The Cabinet Office minister will go head-to-head with Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic to manage our future relationship with the bloc. The
The Cabinet Office minister will go head-to-head with Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic to manage our future relationship with the bloc. The pair are already co-chairs of the Brexit Joint Committee, tasked with implementing the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement. A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We’ve informed the European Union that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will co-chair the Partnership Council for the United Kingdom on an interim basis.
“This is in addition to his existing responsibilities as co-chair to the Joint Committee.”
Mr Gove and his Brussels counterpart have been at the centre of the row over the Northern Ireland border tensions.
Last week the men held crisis talks amid growing anger over the post-Brexit border plans for the region.
Brussels announced plans to impose a hard border on Ireland to prevent coronavirus vaccines leaking into the UK via the backdoor.
And the bloc’s red tape has triggered trade disruptions between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, angering Unionist communities.
Their work on the Partnership Council will focus on ensuring the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement runs smoothly.
The body will be the first port of call if disputes arise as part of the post-Brexit future relationship with the bloc.
The EU is still yet to fully ratify trade and security treaty, citing delays in translating the 1,246-page document into the bloc’s more than 20 languages.
Brussels could apply to extend the process, which is due to be completed by Feburary 28 at the latest.
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Mr Sefcovic added: “I think that what is very important is to really, really tone down, dial down the rhetroic, becasue I think we need to really create a conducive atmosphere for the implementation of the protocol.”
Downing Street has previously slammed the Commission for failing to acknowledge the “shock and anger” felt across Northern Ireland following its threat to block Covid vaccine exports.
No.10 said it was “disappointing” the bloc chose to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit trade deal.
The move, which was later reversed, would have created a hard border on the island of Ireland.