British Prime Minister Teresa May calls on the EU to compromise on Ireland’s border at Brexit negotiations. May is on a two-day visit to British-ruled Northern Ireland. Trade and security along the border with the Republic of Ireland are among the main obstacles to a Brexit agreement. CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi has details.
A busy day of Brexit interventions on Friday. Over in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK Prime Minister Theresa May offered assurances to both Ireland and Northern Ireland that no hard border would ever be allowed by either the UK or EU–come what may.
But she also used her speech to tear into the EU’s backstop solution for the divisive Irish border issue. The EU has proposed that if no agreement can be reached, Northern Ireland would remain part of the EU Customs union, ensuring regulatory alignment with Ireland to avoid disruptions across their border for people and businesses.
As she threw down the gauntlet to the EU to “evolve” its position–a mere few hours later, the EU’s Lead Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, called for calm, saying that a workable backstop solution would be found.
“We need to de-dramatize this question of control over the back-stop,” said Barnier. “We never said we wanted to create a border in the sea between Northern Ireland and the UK, but we need to find the proper place and time to reach control. We need to protect EU consumers and the internal market.”
Both sides will no doubt be aware that time is running out. And Barnier issued an eerie warning–come December 2018, if there is no agreement on the withdrawal agreement or a political agreement on the future EU-UK relations, Europe wouldn’t just be headed for a “No Deal Brexit,” it would get it.