tiptrot.com July 18, 2018

British-Irish Council Brexit talks in Guernsey

24 June 2018, 09:04 | Bernice Figueroa

GETTYThe UK has proposed a time-limited backstop

GETTYThe UK has proposed a time-limited backstop

Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney, who represents part of Co Cork in Ireland's south, handed Mr Juncker the shirt in his county colours.

Coming a week ahead of a key European Council meeting of leaders in Brussels, the visit to Dublin of Mr Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is a clear demonstration of the EU's solidarity with Ireland's position.

"Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill emphasised to Theresa May the need for a City Deal for Derry as part of the inclusive growth strategy for the wider north west".

"The backstop paper has been amended and now expresses, in much more detail, the time limited nature of our proposal - something the prime minister and David Davis have always been committed to".

"The UK gave the European Union back in December a guarantee there'd be no hard border on the island of Ireland".

Juncker made the comments in a joint press conference with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the start of a two day visit to Dublin to discuss Brexit issues.

"A withdrawal agreement without a backstop is of no use whatsoever", he said.

"Let me blunt, there isn't much time left", Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday morning.

Asked about wrangling within the UK Government over the customs issue, the Taoiseach said: "Internal British politics isn't my concern".

But he said that no deal is as good as membership of the EU.

Britain's plan for a temporary customs "backstop" is "not acceptable" and any fall-back option can not be time-limited, the European Parliament's chief Brexit co-ordinator has told MPs.

"There are those that think the other 26 countries will abandon Ireland for a deal that suits them", he said. "Ireland will come first and Ireland's border [with the UK] will be Europe's border".

European Union officials have complained that Britain is not telling them what it wants from a future relationship, makings talks very hard.

"It simply does not exist", he said, adding that the prospect of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without any deal at all must be prepared for.

It comes just over a week before the June 28-29 European summit at which Barnier will present the state of play in Brexit negotiations to the assembled heads of state and government.

"We have advanced on some separation issues for which European businesses need certainty, such as customs, VAT, Euratom and certificates for goods", Barnier said in a statement accompanying a joint declaration from Brussels and London.

So far Mrs May has largely been able to keep them together, largely by putting off the most hard decisions, but a planned away-day in July for the Brexit "war cabinet" meant to thrash out their differences could become a new flashpoint with unpredictable consequences.

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