The United Kingdom and the European Union appear to be on the verge of finalizing a new Brexit agreement for Northern Ireland.
According to a No. 10 source, the talks are going well.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters on Saturday that a deal was not yet done on the protocol but was “inching towards a conclusion”.
On Saturday, King Charles was scheduled to meet with the president of the European Commission in the United Kingdom.
According to multiple sources, Ursula von der Leyen’s visit was canceled due to operational reasons unrelated to the political talks.
The planned meeting between the King and the President of the European Commission, as first reported by Sky News, was not part of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.
However, the fact that a meeting was scheduled is significant because it appears to indicate that a Brexit agreement was about to be completed – and publicly presented – while Ms von der Leyen was in the UK.
It is unknown when she will return to the UK.
Some speculated that a new deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was thought to be nearly complete, could be called the Windsor Agreement and include a photo opportunity between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ms von der Leyen.
The protocol, which was agreed under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and went into effect in 2021, saw Northern Ireland continue to follow some EU laws in order to avoid checks at the UK-Ireland border.
Mr Sunak and Ms von der Leyen spoke by telephone on Friday and Downing Street said the prime minister had made “good progress”.
According to a source, it was “positive,” and negotiations would continue, with the leaders agreeing to “discuss this further in the coming days.”