Taoiseach Micheál Martin has held a brief conversation with British Prime Minister Liz Truss on the margins of the inaugural meeting of continental European leaders in Prague.

Earlier, the Taoiseach said a window of opportunity existed for technical talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol to make progress.

The appearance of Liz Truss at the summit of EU and other continental European leaders in the Czech capital has enhanced the prospect of increased British engagement with Europe at a delicate moment in post-Brexit relations.

This afternoon, technical talks between the EU and UK on the Northern Ireland Protocol got under way via videolink.

Arriving at the meeting the Taoiseach, when asked if the UK should pause the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, said it was important for space to be created for those talks to progress without a running commentary.

Ms Truss was due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The summit is being dominated by the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, with leaders exchanging ideas in round table format.

Elsewhere, EU officials have said that they will have to liaise with G7 countries to work out how a universal price cap on Russian oil will be operated.

43 European leaders at inaugural summit

Mr Martin has joined 43 other European leaders in Prague for the inaugural summit of the European Political Community.

The new forum will allow continental heads of government to address key challenges such as the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and migration.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also attending, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will join via videolink.

The European Political Community is the brainchild of President Macron.

In May, he proposed a continent-wide forum of EU and non-EU countries, including those who wanted to join, as a platform to discuss shared challenges.

His view was that the accession of countries in Europe's neighbourhood had ground to a halt and as such those countries were not incentivised to deepen reforms.

While the idea was criticised as a poor alternative to accession, President Macron insisted it was complementary to countries eventually joining the EU and that it would provide genuine benefits.

There is significant focus on Ms Truss, who was said to have been lukewarm on the idea but who then enthusiastically accepted the invitation.

She will hold bilateral meetings with President Macron, as well as the Dutch and Czech prime ministers.

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The meeting will include a one-hour plenary session followed by contributions from President Zelensky, with other contributions from Ms Truss, the Norwegian Prime Minister and Albanian Prime Minister.

There will be four parallel round table sessions, two on peace and security, and two on energy, climate and the economy.

The Taoiseach will speak on the latter, alongside the leaders of Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Serbia and Liechtenstein.

According to a Government official, Mr Martin will outline the Government's moves to support people through energy credits, fuel allowances, energy taxes and a potential windfall tax for energy companies.

The Taoiseach is also expected to raise Ireland's wind energy potential, and the need for more interconnectivity at EU level, citing Ireland's interconnectors to Wales and France.

The Taoiseach will not take part in the peace and security session.

Mr Martin will hold bilateral meetings with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as well as the Albanian and Bosnian leaders.

'This is not about moving closer to Europe'

British Prime Minister Liz Truss said her attendance at the Prague summit was not about moving closer to Europe.

"This is not about moving closer to Europe. This is about working with Europe on issues that we both face," she said.

Prime Minister Truss added: "What this is about is about working with all of our European partners to challenge (Vladimir) Putin's appalling war in Ukraine, but also to work together on the issues that we all face, huge energy costs, rising inflation and also migration across our continent. So, it is very important that we work with our neighbours and allies to face down Putin but also deal with the issues we face."

'Minor diplomatic coup' for Macron

The Director General of the Institute of International and European Affairs has said that today's inaugural meeting of the European Political Community has sent a strong message of solidarity for Ukraine from the European family.

David O'Sullivan, the former Secretary General of the European Commission and EU Ambassador to Washington also labelled today's gathering as "a minor diplomatic coup" for French President Emmanuel Macron who he said organised the meeting in a way that the UK felt they could join.

"Any forum which gets the UK back around the table with European partners and talking about issues of common concern is surely progress, compared to where we have been for the last few years with Brexit so that can only be welcomed, " he said.

David O'Sullivan said that while the EU will remain the centre of European gravity, it is not a bad idea to have a forum where all of the European family to meet to discuss issues of mutual concern.