EU's Barnier 'worried' by United Kingdom stance on Ireland

10 September, 2017, 13:22 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • The EU commission has published its guiding principles on the dialogue on Ireland  Northern Ireland on Thursday 7

A senior EU Brexit negotiator has stated that he is prepared to increase the pace of discussions with Britain.

The proposals were among those made in further position papers published by the European Commission's Brexit negotiators on Thursday for consultation with the other 27 EU member states which offered a glimpse of thinking in Brussels about future trade ties with Britain, despite an EU refusal to start talks.

Britain and the European Union will work "together" to solve the Irish border issue during Brexit talks, British foreign minister Boris Johnson insisted on Friday, after the bloc's negotiators said it was London's responsibility to find a solution.

These are rather obvious hints that the preferred solution for the Irish border is to have the United Kingdom in the customs union and EEA.

He said that the falling value of sterling due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations is likely to drive cross-border shopping and has already seen a fall in the number of British tourists visiting Ireland.

"The UK wants the EU to suspend the application of its laws, the customs union and the single market".

"This will not happen".

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has called on Britain to remain in "an extended customs union and single market" after it leaves the European Union, to avoid a hardening of the Border.

Brigid Laffan tweet 7 September

"We can not and will not support that and nor will the European Union", he said, adding that Britons wanted to avoid a hard border too.

But British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Tallinn, said a solution was "not beyond the wit of man".

But what I am clear about is this; unionists will not agree to a slicing up of the United Kingdom and creating a new "status" for Northern Ireland.

"I think the border is the hard issue if we leave the customs union, which the government at the moment seems keen on doing, then there are some very hard issues that are going to have to be resolved", he said.

"I am confident that, by using the most up-to-date technology, we can get a non-visible border effectively operational along the border between Northern Ireland and [the Republic of] Ireland".

Ireland has welcomed Britain's commitment to upholding the Northern Ireland peace process and retaining freedom of movement across the border but warned it would not be "used as a pawn" in the larger talks.

The letter states that signatories welcome the government's commitment to negotiating an interim period after the formal date of Brexit in 2019 to give firms time to adapt to the changing relationship with the EU.

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