- Ioan Wells, Chris Mason & Jessica Parker
- BBC Politics
Rishi Sunak is set to hold face-to-face talks with the European Commission chief as he tries to secure a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.
The prime minister and Ursula van der Leyen said on Monday they would discuss a “range of complex challenges” surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol.
The UK wants to change the protocol, which checks certain goods when entering from other parts of the UK.
Dominic Raab previously said Britain and the EU were “on the cusp” of a deal.
Mr Sunak and Ms van der Leyen said they agreed to continue their work “towards shared, practical solutions”.
A deal has been expected for days, with recent talks focusing on its presentation and delivery.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab earlier told the BBC that the UK was close to securing a deal with the European Union.
Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Mr Robb said: “We’re on the cusp, we’ve made great progress, we’re not there yet, but this will be a very important deal…
“I think it will represent a paradigm shift for communities in Northern Ireland first, but I think it will be a significant achievement.”
The protocol, signed by Boris Johnson in 2020, means that Northern Ireland will continue to follow certain EU laws, allowing goods to pass freely across the border into the Irish Republic without checks.
Under the terms of the Protocol, Northern Ireland continued to adopt certain EU laws to require checks at the UK’s border with the Republic of Ireland.
Currently, goods are checked at ports in Northern Ireland when arriving from England, Scotland or Wales. Once those trials are completed they can be transferred to the Republic of Ireland.
The new scheme will split cargo into two different routes. Those traveling only to Northern Ireland will travel on the green lane and those traveling to the Republic of Ireland and the EU will travel on the red lane and will not be checked when checks are carried out.