DUP leader slams 'unfair' draft Brexit agreement

EMPICS Entertainment
EMPICS Entertainment
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07 March, 2018

The draft text includes a "backstop option" which states if no solutions are found, a common regulatory zone would be established which would leave Northern Ireland within the EU's customs territory.

Arlene Foster said that during a "constructive" meeting in Brussels she had told European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier Tuesday morning that the text on future customs arrangements between the European Union and United Kingdom was "unacceptable".

The EU's proposals to solve the Brexit Irish border issue are not "fair" and actually backtrack on what was agreed with the United Kingdom in December, the DUP have told the bloc's chief negotiator in a face-to-face meeting in Brussels.

"We will not countenance any proposal which would create a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain".

Following the meeting party leader Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Barnier "clearly understands the challenges that Brexit presents to the Good Friday Agreement".

"I am happy to say we have a shared understanding that there can not be a withdrawal agreement, much less an agreement on any future relationship between Britain and the European Union, in the absence of an answer to the Irish question", Mrs McDonald said.

Northern Ireland will be the UK's only border with the EU.

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Ms Foster also accused the European Union of "overreach" in relation to a suggestion that the North-South Ministerial Council, set up under the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), could play a role in terms of the single market continuing to apply where north south co-operation was concerned.

Quick guide Why is the Irish border a stumbling block for Brexit? "It would be an economic catastrophe if we allowed a border between ourselves and the rest of the U.K".

And Nigel Dodds, Mrs Foster's deputy and the DUP's Westminster leader, also blasted Mr Barnier's proposals.

Though she described the meeting as "a good and very open meeting", she said that "the current draft legal text has omissions in it, it also overreaches in other areas".

"There are three options in relation to future relations, this [legal text] has only reflected the third of those options, it doesn't reflect the first and second".

He has said that it is incumbent on anyone who is unhappy with the draft text to bring forward legally enforceable alternatives.

Foster appeared to offer support for the prime minister's suggestions that lessons could be learned from the Canada-US border.


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