Barnier raises question over the UK's White Paper

23 Juillet, 2018, 13:44 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May gives her speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast Northern Ireland Friday July 20

"It is not a border but you have got to check the goods to protect consumers and protect businesses".

She said Mrs May rejected the accusations from Ms McDonald.

British MP and leading Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"There are some elements which do seem to contradict the guidelines of the European Union", said Barnier, insisting that the bloc will not waver on essential principles like the unity of the single market.

"People who have said the number 40 are not out by a fraction when they come to consider the number of Members who don't like this deal on these benches and are willing to vote in line with this dislike, they are out by a factor, not a fraction".

"It is a total embarrassment that our prime minister is leading us off of a hard Brexit cliff edge by virtue signalling to hard line Brexiteers who would love nothing more than negotiations to fail and the United Kingdom to crash out of the single market with no deal".

"The only thing that could replace this current form of a backstop is, No. 1 something which is better; No. 2 something which is agreed and No. 3 something that would be legally operable", Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told RTE radio.

Instead, May said the European Union must engage with her Brexit "white paper" policy document released earlier this month, which proposes negotiating the closest possible links for trade in goods to protect businesses and to fulfil a commitment to avoid having infrastructure on the border.

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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.

"But it's probably also right to say that as a matter of global law there is a divorce bill to be paid even if we don't have a future relationship".

During the week, the House of Commons passed a motion that would prevent Northern Ireland agreeing to have separate custom arrangements to the rest of the UK.

The EU executive's Communication, which follows a request by the European Council (Article 50) last month to intensify preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes, calls on Member States, and private parties, to step up their preparations.

However, during her visit to Belfast, Mrs May will reiterate that a hard border is not acceptable. There is a long way to go before Brexit is solved, so a long holiday for British politics is the last thing the United Kingdom needs.

Mr Donohoe also said he believes that Mrs May's commitment to an open border is genuine and honest.

"Regarding the future economic partnership, the white paper (blueprint) raises three sets of questions", Barnier told journalists at a press conference in Brussels after his meeting with the bloc's ministers.

"With serious issues yet to be resolved, not least at the border of Northern Ireland, the prospect of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit is becoming more concrete by the day".

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