Barnier Aide Casts Doubt on Key Plank of May's Brexit Plan
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Mar 07, 2018,
Mar 07, 2018, 6:50
"We stressed again the need to respect the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and of course the economic integrity of the single market of the United Kingdom as well".
"The draft European Union legal text was not a faithful or indeed fair legal interpretation of the joint report from December", Foster told journalists following the Barnier meeting adding that she was ready to explore "imaginative and flexible solutions", in the coming months.
The draft withdrawal treaty was instead said to amount to an unjustified attempt by Brussels to revise the terms of the Good Friday agreement, which has kept the peace since 1998. "We will be urging our government to come forward with a different text because we think that all of the joint report needs to be reflected in what is going on here in the heart of Europe".
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Ms Foster also accused the European Union of "overreach" in relation to a suggestion that the North-South Ministerial Council, set up under the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), could play a role in terms of the single market continuing to apply where north south co-operation was concerned.
The head of the Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 MPs prop up Mrs May's Government, said her party could never support such a plan, which would effectively put a customs border in the Irish Sea.
And Nigel Dodds, Mrs Foster's deputy and the DUP's Westminster leader, also blasted Mr Barnier's proposals. "It would be an economic catastrophe if we allowed a border between ourselves and the rest of the U.K".
"We feel that the current draft legal text has omissions in it". The European Union's skewed interpretation of "Option C", paragraph 49 of the phase 1 agreement represented one of the most audacious examples of EU encroachment and interference - the very thing many in the United Kingdom disliked and rejected during the EU referendum. "The Belfast Agreement has very specific areas in relation to co-operation and those need to be respected", said Mrs Foster. She said that the infrastructure on that border largely related to checking the movement of people rather than goods, which moved freely.