Senior EU figures are contemplating a major reset in relations with the UK that would coincide with the formal ratification of the free trade agreement at the end of April, RTÉ News has learned.

The idea would be for both sides to work towards a package of solutions around the outstanding issues of the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as other areas of tension, such as the status of the EU’s delegation to the UK.

Senior figures have confirmed to RTÉ News that a formal, set-piece event marking the ratification of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), which was concluded by both sides on Christmas Eve, could inaugurate a more harmonious relationship.

It is understood very tentative discussions have been under way at a senior level between officials in Brussels and London.

There has been a fractious start to the new post-Brexit relationship from the beginning of January, with simmering tension over the Northern Ireland Protocol, vaccine procurement, the diplomatic rights of the EU ambassador to the UK, and the alleged discrimination against citizens from a number of eastern European member states over UK work visas.

The fear among senior EU officials is that unless there is a clear reset then the relationship could become one of perpetual tension.

Some observers have seen the appointment of David Frost, the former UK Brexit negotiator, to the role of overseeing the future relationship as reflective of a dynamic that could be more about confrontation than co-operation.

The European Parliament is expected to formally ratify the TCA on 24 March, meaning national capitals would give their final and formal consent to the treaty early to mid-April.

Senior figures envisage a possible “handshake” moment involving British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders that would symbolically mark a new, more harmonious era in relations.

This would ideally coincide with both sides signing off on a package of solutions to the most contentious outstanding issues, especially the Northern Ireland Protocol and the London embassy issue.

However, it is understood that there would have to be hard negotiations in the coming weeks in order to provide the political space for a genuine reset.

The Northern Ireland Protocol remains the most difficult issue, following the European Commission’s move to invoke Article 16 at the end of January.

Demands by unionists for the protocol to be scrapped have thus far fallen on deaf ears, but London and Brussels remain some distance apart on how to resolve the deepening antagonism over trade barriers on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

In December, both sides reached agreement on how to implement the protocol, which came into effect on 1 January.

A grace period, during which Northern Ireland supermarkets importing huge volumes of food from Great Britain would be absolved from needing expensive and cumbersome documentation, expires on 1 April.

A meeting on Wednesday of the EU-UK Joint Committee, co-chaired by commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and his UK counterpart Michael Gove, concluded with no real breakthrough on the outstanding issues.

It is understood Mr Šefčovič has requested another joint committee meeting before the end of March, ahead of the deadline for the grace period to end.

The UK has asked for two grace periods, related to food safety rules, to be extended until 1 January 2023.


How to take the stress out of your big move!

Moving house can be incredibly stressful. However it doesn’t need to be. Prolink moves hundreds of people each week; we know what works, what saves time and how to take the unnecessary stress out of moving your home.

We utilize a project management approach and offer a bespoke service. We carefully assess your relocation needs and requirements and develop a realistic packing and transit schedule to ensure a ‘smooth move’.

Prolink’s Top Tips for packing up your house:

The Pre pack- Always De-Clutter, Itemise and Over-estimate on boxes

Always pack by room – This makes unpacking so much easier.

Label all boxes – Then when you are at your new home when you unpack your van, you can immediately put every box in the room that it should be.

The Admin– Make sure anything/documents important is safe, like passports, birth certs etc keep together so when unpacking you have to hand and ready to file in your new safe place!

Weighty Issue – Always make sure your box can carry its weight.  If it can’t then get another box. Any heavy items should be packed separately but if items are very heavy or big then perhaps they don’t require a box at all.

Fragile Goods – They should be carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and shouldn’t have any room for movement in the box.

Now for the unpack

Supplies – Make sure you have all your must haves to hand- tea, milk the kettle for the hours of unpacking that lies ahead!

Room by Room – Unpack one room at a time rather than trying to tackle the whole house at once.

Recycle – Love the environment and recycle your boxes.

Delegate – When your items arrive, have one person directing the movers as to where each item of furniture goes. Don’t go unpacking boxes straight away as this can get in the way of the movers. Wait until they have finished in a particular room and then you can make a start on that room.

Final Inspection -Take a look once the movers have finished unloading, once you are satisfied you can sign the necessary paperwork and sent us on our way.

Now simply Unpack and Put Away!


Here is a look at Prolinks top tips on how to pack a box

It might seem like a simple task and it is if you get it right, but if you want to pack properly so your move is seamless, then read on for our top tips on just how to pack that box.

Remember when a box is packed correctly, it will protect all of the items that it contains to ensure that no valuables are broken or damaged in transit.

So here is how you pack a box:
The Box itself- use new, durable corrugated box when packing moving boxes. The box has to support the contents that it contains.
Packing Tip: Time is everything – so take your packing up in stages- pace yourself it’s a marathon not a sprint- take your time and organise your boxes and packing so that you will have a seamless move.

The Box:
Reinforce the bottom of the box with strong tape.
Light on top heavy on the bottom- So all heavy items to the bottom of the box and remember DON’T OVER PACK ANY BOX
No empty spaces- fill with cloth or fabrics so your items won’t shift in transit
It is important to pack cleverly, so don’t over pack, don’t place too many heavy items in the one box and remember when you pack to pack with your own unpack in mind.
We will only move boxes which are packed in durable boxes, that are sealed and that are taped and labelled. This makes the moving process simple and best of all stress free.
Having good quality boxes, packing smart so that boxes are not too heavy and are labelled will save you hours on the un pack.

Prolinks Top Packing Tips:

  • Be organised
  • Clothing can be kept in dresser drawers and transported separately
  • Small/loose items could be packed in resalable plastic bags and then organised into a larger box
  • Choose heavy duty plastic bags if packing in bags- less chance of rips
  • Always write exactly what room and what is in the box- the more detail the better
  • The better the pack the easier the un pack!