Mark Drakeford hosts meeting of British-Irish Council at crunch point in ongoing post-Brexit negotiations
The First Minister will today welcome leaders from the British-Irish Council to Wales at a crunch point in the ongoing post-Brexit negotiations.
Mark Drakeford will host the British-Irish Council Summit in Cardiff, bringing together leaders from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
The Northern Ireland protocol is likely to be discussed, with the UK Government threatening to invoke article 16 and unilaterally suspend parts of the agreement.
The arrangements agreed in 2019 that were designed to prevent Brexit creating a hard border on the island of Ireland. But this has created a trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Today there were calls for former Republic of Ireland Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to apologise after saying yesterday that loyalists in “ghettos” in Northern Ireland had “no clue” about the UK-EU Northern Ireland deal.
Speaking ahead of the Summit, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I look forward to welcoming British-Irish Council Ministers to Wales today, to discuss many pressing issues.
“Today’s Summit is a timely opportunity to support dialogue and collective action between our governments, and this is more essential than ever given the current challenges we all face.
“The Council plays a unique and critical role in developing positive relationships between its members. Today’s Summit is a particularly important opportunity to maintain and build on those relationships.”
The Summit is expected to also discuss the pandemic, continuing discussions between the EU and the UK, and the need for governments to work together to take action against climate change, following COP26 in Glasgow.