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Dominic Raab, the UK’s new Brexit secretary, has promised to inject “renewed energy vim and vigour” into the country’s Brexit negotiations during his first visit to Brussels.
Standing next to his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, Mr Raab said it was time to “heat up” Brexit talks seven months ahead of the UK’s planned exit.
“There are still gaps we’ve need to fill. We’ve taken stock and I’m looking forward to looking more progress today” said Mr Raab, who was appointed following the resignation of David Davis last week.
Mr Raab and Mr Barnier will meet and have dinner in Brussels today. The Brexit secretary’s meeting comes a week after the UK published a 98-page “white paper” laying out its Brexit strategy.
Despite publishing the white paper, EU negotiators have spent most of the week pressing the UK government into coming up with a solution to avoid creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Mr Barnier said the two sides had to “urgently agree legally operative backstop”.
“We need an all-weather insurance policy”, he said.