Backstop not part of EU's tactics in Brexit talks: Barnier
Backstop not part of EU's tactics in Brexit talks: Barnier
Politics: Remoaner Lords are attempting to 'block the need of the individuals' by tying PM's fingers over Brexit, Liam Fox
01 May, 2018, 12:48
Warrenpoint Port, the second largest port in Northern Ireland and the fourth biggest on the island of Ireland, used a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today to impress on him the need for a frictionless border during Brexit negotiations.
But Mr Varadkar said he followed standard protocol by informing the Northern Ireland Office of his visit, which included engagements at Warrenpoint Harbour and an integrated school in Loughbrickland.
Mr Varadkar acknowledged some unionists were anxious that Brexit could be used to undermine Northern Ireland's union with Britain. "His proposal of us being in an all-Ireland regulatory scenario with a border down the Irish Sea simply does not work".
As the lead negotiator for the European Union 27, Mr Barnier has - and continues to have - nearly complete support from every Irish stakeholder in Brexit, including cross-party recognition, as well as from business and civil liberties groups.
"Mrs Foster and some others need to understand that and respect that", Barnier told a press conference with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
By 335 votes to 244, the House of Lords backed an amendment to the government's key Brexit bill to give Parliament decision-making power on the outcome of negotiations with the European Union - including the power to call off the divorce.
"I am not willing to engage in any kind of polemics with Mrs Foster", he said.
"To be clear: without a backstop, there can be no withdrawal agreement", said Barnier.
"We are seeking practical, practical and operational, solutions to a complex problem".
"The backstop is not there to challenge the UK's redlines". The backstop was seen as hugely controversial because it would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and Single Market - something which Theresa May said would never be acceptable.
"This is why it is necessary to have a self-standing backstop solution". She told the BBC: "There are two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland, we are part of the United Kingdom, they have to respect the constitutional reality and in terms of that they have to understand that we want to remain part of the United kingdom not just from a constitutional or political point of view, but from an economic one as well".
"Although we do have a common travel area between the United Kingdom and Irish Republic, that is no excuse for formal visits of this nature not being subjected to normal protocol arrangements".
Both Mr Varadkar and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney are still doing this, the DUP MP said, "and then today he waltzes into Northern Ireland as if he owned the place".
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