EU's Barnier Says UK's Brexit Position on Ireland Is Wrong

Kristopher Drake
September 10, 2017

The Irish Government has been more forthright about its concerns in recent weeks because both it and Brussels are trying to impress on London the need to come up with solutions that will avoid a hard Border.

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".

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.

"As part of this we are also determined to see the UK continue to be a prosperous and united force for good in the world and are ready to play our full part to achieve this as Britain leaves the European Union".

A new fight has been brewing over the consequences of Brexit for the border between Northern Ireland and the neighboring Republic of Ireland.

Once there is sufficient progress on the principles set out in this paper, discussions can move on to ways to avoid a hard border on "the island of Ireland", it said.

The UK government has ruled out a suggestion of joint authority in Northern Ireland, should talks aimed at restoring the Stormont Executive fail.

The EU which will have 27 member states after Brexit wants to solve key exit issues before opening talks about any future trade cooperation with Britain. London says divorce talks should run in parallel with discussions about future ties

He added: "Creativity and flexibility can not be at the expense of the integrity of the single market and customs union".

At the end of the third round of talks on Friday, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said there had been "no decisive progress" on key issues.

He accused Britain of wanting the EU to "suspend the application of its laws" as a test case for broader EU-British customs regulations.

The Irish Government - determined to achieve as frictionless a border as possible - has long argued that the best way to avoid this would be for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Economic Area (EEA) as a non-EU member, the current status of countries such as Iceland and Norway.

"That was one of the reasons I went to Detroit - not so we could replicate what there is between Detroit and Buffalo - but so that we could use some of the same techniques, [such as] authorised economic operators, pre-notification, electronic tagging on containers".

Barnier said former Prime Minister David Cameron signed up to the EU's 7-year budget in 2013, and that the British parliament confirmed this.

The Conservative European Research Group (ERG), which numbers around 100 MPs, is backing a new report that claims the EU will in fact owe Britain £9.3bn after Brexit.


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