WHO IS LYING? THE EU OR THE UK GOVERNMENT?
BARNIER LECTURES UK AGAIN, ON IRISH SOIL
In a speech in Dundalk near the Irish border on Monday in front of the Irish Taoiseach and Tanaiste (PM Leo Varadkar and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney), the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator once again laid it on the line for the UK.
Monsieur Barnier could not be clearer that it was agreed by the British government that Northern Ireland will effectively be cut off from the rest of the country, if the government doesn’t come up with a new proposal that the EU is happy with.
As things stand, the EU has already dismissed the proposal that both HMRC and the Irish Revenue & Customs seem perfectly happy with – the use of existing electronic customs arrangements with some modest additions.
CUTTING NORTHERN IRELAND ADRIFT
In order to secure the draft withdrawal and transition agreement with the EU which Mrs May was so proud of, the British government agreed that in the absence of any deal on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic there must be a ‘back-stop’ agreement.
This ‘back-stop’ effectively means that a new border will be created in the middle of the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Northern Ireland will to all intents and purposes be in the Single Market and Customs Union, subject to all EU laws on goods and standards, and will in effect not leave the EU.
Mrs May famously said in Parliament in February that – even though this was supposedly a draft agreement she had made with the EU – “no UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it”.
The problem is that on 19th March when the draft agreement was published, David Davis and Michel Barnier gave a joint press conference. In that press conference Barnier stated: “We agreed today that the back stop solution must form part of the legal text of the withdrawal agreement.” David Davis was standing right beside him when Barnier announced this.
Clearly someone here is lying.
BARNIER REINFORCES THE ISOLATING OF NORTHERN IRELAND
KEY EXCERPTS FROM BARNIER’S SPEECH ON MONDAY
Below are the key excerpts from Monsieur Barnier’s speech near the Irish border on Monday.
“The consequences of Brexit should not and must not lead to the return of a hard border, neither on maps nor in minds…. And this is why we insist on the need to have a backstop as part of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
“In December, the UK agreed that, unless and until another solution is found, Northern Ireland will maintain full alignment with the rules of the Single Market and the Customs Union which support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy, and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.”
“1) First, both sides in this negotiation are firmly committed to a backstop. It is a guarantee to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“In March, in a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed her commitment to including operational legal text on the backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“To be clear: without a backstop, there can be no Withdrawal Agreement. This is an EU issue, not only an Irish issue.”
“2) My second point is that the backstop is not part of a negotiation strategy…. The backstop is not there to change the UK’s red lines. It is there because of the UK’s red lines.
“The UK’s decision to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union creates a risk that the hard border will return. This is why it is necessary to have a self-standing backstop solution. To be clear, once again the backstop was drafted in full respect of the UK’s red lines.”
“3) My third point is that the backstop is needed in order to respect the integrity of the Single Market and the EU’s Customs Union.
“Some people think that we could have two different sets of rules on the island of Ireland and still avoid border checks…. Goods that enter Ireland also enter the Single Market. It is called the “Single” Market for a reason.
“So, since we all agree that we do not want a border, and since the UK agreed to respect Ireland’s place in the Single Market, then that means goods entering Northern Ireland must comply with the rules of the Single Market and the Union Customs Code.
“That is our logic. Simple as that.”
And Monsieur Barnier concluded: “Finally, the backstop will apply unless and until another solution is found as part of the future relationship.”
What is the point of negotiations and supposedly reaching an agreement if in fact no such agreement exists? Mrs May says that “no UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it”. So why did she? Barnier was clear only 19 days later when he stood next to David Davis and announced the deal. Mr Davis didn’t contradict Barnier, so someone is lying.
N.I. stands for “No Issue”. Or it should. Many times on this site we have demonstrated that Northern Ireland is being used as a political football by the EU.
We are not saying that there aren’t many details which need to be agreed to ensure the smooth operation of trade across the border – there are. However there already exists the basis of a practical solution which both HMRC and their Irish counterparts believe is eminently workable.
The problem is that the EU is preventing the two sides from getting together to thrash out the details, because the EU has no interest in solving this.
This solution does not require a hard border and it does not require that Northern Ireland stay in the Single Market and Customs Union and remain subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ.
Northern Ireland continues to be used in a disgustingly cynical fashion by the EU in order to thwart a clean Brexit. The Irish PM and his Foreign Minister have behaved shamefully throughout and in our opinion they clearly hold anti-British views. Their games-playing is somewhat surprising given that the Irish economy would collapse in the event of a ‘no deal’ between the UK and the EU.
For the record, we have attempted to get a reaction from the Democratic Unionist Party but their press office hasn’t bothered to respond to us.
The real tragedy is that for the last two years the British government with its Remoaner civil servants has been too incompetent to hit this non-issue on the head. Regrettably we have to say that this is typical of the entire conduct of the government on Brexit in general.
YES, BUT “NOTHING IS AGREED UNTIL EVERYTHING IS AGREED”
Finally, we sometimes get comments that we obviously don’t understand that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, so it doesn’t matter what the UK government agrees to on something like Northern Ireland because they can always withdraw at the last minute.
Sorry, but this is nonsense. Firstly, agreeing to the EU’s more ridiculous demands only encourages them to make even more extreme ones. Secondly, it reinforces their view that the UK is weak in these negotiations. Thirdly our experience of these negotiations has been that the UK has constantly given ground on every occasion, such that we detest the latest version of the agreement in its entirety and do not consider it to be Brexit.
And finally, it puts off the inevitable until so late in the day that there really will be major disruption if the UK exits without a deal.[Source: EU Commission] 04.40am, 02 May 2018
Name: Big Mach, Cheshire Date/Time: 02 May 2018, 12.35pm
Message: Katya Adler, the BBC Europe correspondent, has told us all we need to know about the motives behind the EU tactics.
She said the real reason behind the EU’s continuous Brexit threats is that Brussels is “very worried” the UK will become a “super competitive country” on their doorstep. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Brexitcast, Ms Adler said: “Let’s imagine a scenario where the EU says, ‘We love you, you know we love you and you know that we don’t want you to leave and you know that we want to keep you really close, so let’s do a really advantageous free trade deal and let’s add some financial services into that. And we’ll give you everything you want. But you’re also free to make arrangements with anybody else you like where you may change your prices and become much more competitive than us. That’s what they don’t want. They want to keep the UK close, but they want to keep the UK close and locked in. They are terrified about us becoming this super competitive country just right close to them and sucking in business that they would then lose out on. So, absolutely, they are very worried about that. And they’re rapidly on their computers saying, ‘How does this all add up?'”