The largest Protestant political force in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Union Party (DUP), would not support a solution in which the province would receive a tide other than the rest of the UK after the end of British membership.
According to unofficial reports from London, the announcement by the DUP leader on Monday was the reason why, unlike the expectations, Monday’s failure to reach a breakthrough in talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels was unsuccessful. May and his host, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission after the meeting announced that he had made significant progress in conciliation on the main issues of British departure, but – according to May’s words – “there are still some differences in some issues.”
According to British media reports, London was willing to compromise on the opening of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland on the basis of which some sort of interim solution would apply to some of the regulatory elements of the EU single market in North Ireland after Brexit.
Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, responded to these briefings and held an extraordinary press conference announcing that the party had a clear view that Northern Ireland should leave the European Union on the same terms as other parts of the United Kingdom.
According to Foster, the DUP does not accept any regulatory discrepancy that would economically or politically separate Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom after the Brexit period. He added that the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom should not be weakened in any way.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said at the evening’s press conference in Dublin at the Monday news conference that the Irish government had not yet received any assurances from London and the European Commission’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier about the British government’s adoption of Ireland’s concerns over the border issue agreement text.
According to Varadkar, this draft agreement would allow the start of the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – first of all on the future trade relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
The Irish Prime Minister stated that Dublin was surprised and disappointed after all that the British government did not seem to be able to conclude conciliation on the border issue at this stage in accordance with the agreement reached on Monday with Ireland.
Leo Varadkar confirmed that the Irish Government will only be able to contribute to the second stage of the Brexit negotiations if there is a firm guarantee that there will not be any physical border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland after the expiry of the British EU membership.
He added, however, that until the mid-December EU summit, when it comes to deciding whether or not to begin the second phase of the Brexit negotiations, “there is still plenty of time”.
The problem is that the British Government wants to move out of the EU’s single market and customs union, so the nearly 500-kilometer border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is currently under no control, will be the only land border customs clearance between the European Union and the United Kingdom. According to experts, it is still unclear how to avoid restoring physical border controls after Brexit.
The situation in London is also compounded by the fact that the governor’s Conservative Party has lost its already short-lived majority in the early elections held on 8 June, and has since been able to rule in a minority, with the external ad hoc support of the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP, however, as its leader, Arlene Foster said in Monday’s statement, is a rigid principle of any kind of solution that would bring Northern Ireland closer to Ireland’s economic and market-oriented approach to the EU.
Source: MTI / Image: wemagazin.com /