Theresa May told to 'take control' over Northern Ireland

Lester Mason
July 22, 2018

The 500-kilometre (300 mile) border has become one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the negotiations.

After a meeting with May, he said: "Northern Ireland is being offered no certainty on Brexit". The former Brexit secretary David Davis has urged the prime minister to "reset" her negotiating strategy.

He also insisted that the responsibility for resolving any outstanding issues rested with the British, since they were the ones who made a decision to leave - and that they would have to be resolved probably by December, as the process of ratifying any withdrawal agreement in the European Council, European Parliament, and British Parliament would not allow for negotiations to carry on to March 2019, when Brexit is supposed to happen - on paper, at least. The unity of the single market would be maintained Mr Barnier insisted.

"It is a matter of frustration and regret that after enjoying the longest period of unbroken devolved government since the 1960s, Northern Ireland has now been without a fully functioning executive for over 18 months", she said.

The minister said the economic impacts of Brexit are "very considerable" and it is important that engagements are intensified between the British government and the European Union taskforce.

She will strongly reject the EU's proposal for a backstop stating it would mean the creation of a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. "We have a duty of care", Barnier said.

He was also critical of the UK's proposal of a Single Market for goods, questioning how it would protect consumers and businesses.

He added that it was "not the end of the world" if no deal could be reached with Brussels. He pointed out that around 13 weeks are left to talk before European Union leaders' summit in October. "Is it legally feasible?" he told reporters in Brussels.

"Each of these issues is important and we need to have an agreement on each and every one of these issues".

Theresa May's Brexit proposals have been called into question by Europe's chief negotiator, who raised a whole string of objections to her new white paper.

The EU gave a lukewarm welcome to the paper.

Conscious of May's fragile political situation in London, EU ministers were keen not to be harsh on the white paper, that they see as part of the next phase of talks on the future partnership, rather than the urgent negotiations needed to finalise the withdrawal agreement.

The Irish government, which has said it has concerns about May's "white paper", on Friday said a backstop was essential, but could be renegotiated.

He highlighted the UK's plan is to align with European Union standards on goods only that are checked at the border, and the added bureaucracy.

Meanwhile divergence on services could lead to "unfair competition".

But in remarks that hinted at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, Barnier warned: "Time is moving on swiftly and we don't have much of that left".

The EU is painfully aware that it is questionable if May could master a majority for any withdrawal agreement in the United Kingdom parliament, and also acknowledge that the proposals in the white paper do not reflect the EU's red lines.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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