Bri­tain ap­peals for EU Brexit com­pro­mise over Ir­ish bor­der

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

BRI­TISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May on Wed­nes­day ap­pealed to the Euro­pean Union to soften its stance in Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, say­ing that only her gov­ern­ment has a work­able plan to pre­vent a hard bor­der be­tween North­ern Ire­land in the U.K. and EU mem­ber state Ire­land.

But de­spite May’s ap­peal at an EU sum­mit in Austria, EU Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk in­sisted that parts of her of­fer are still not sat­is­fac­tory more than 18 months into the ne­go­ti­a­tions and must change to keep alive hopes of con­clud­ing a Brexit deal in com­ing weeks.

Bri­tain leaves the EU at mid­night on March 29 — the first time a coun­try has ever left the world’s big­gest trad­ing bloc — but so­lu­tions to out­stand­ing Brexit is­sues must be found by Novem­ber so par­lia­ments have time to rat­ify any ac­cord.

May told re­porters that her of­fer to solve the bor­der rid­dle — the big­gest ob­sta­cle to a deal — was “the only cred­i­ble and ne­go­tiable plan on the table that de­liv­ers no hard bor­der in North­ern Ire­land and also de­liv­ers on the vote of the Bri­tish peo­ple” to leave the EU.

“If we are go­ing to achieve a suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion then, just as the U.K. has evolved its po­si­tion, the EU will need to evolve its po­si­tion too,” she said.

Tusk, though, high­lighted short­falls in Bri­tain’s po­si­tion on avoid­ing a hard bor­der, as well as on eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, say­ing that “the U.K.’S pro­pos­als will need to be re­worked and fur­ther ne­go­ti­ated.”

He ramped up pres­sure on May — al­ready strug­gling to keep her job and con­trol in-fight­ing within her Con­ser­va­tive Party — by say­ing that time was fast run­ning out. “Ev­ery day that is left we must use for talks,” Tusk said. He said he wants a deal fi­nal­ized this au­tumn, and urged lead­ers to hold an­other sum­mit in mid-novem­ber as part of a roadmap to get the job done.

Right from the start, both sides pledged to en­sure there’s no hard bor­der around North­ern Ire­land but they dis­agree on how to get there.

The EU has of­fered to ef­fec­tively keep North­ern Ire­land in its cus­toms union. EU chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier says that could be done by check­ing goods des­tined for North­ern Ire­land at com­pa­nies and mar­kets within the U.K.

But Lon­don says this would un­der­mine the U.K. by treat­ing North­ern Ire­land dif­fer­ently from the rest of the coun­try. May’s lat­est plan — the so-called Che­quers pro­pos­als — en­vi­sions the whole U.K., in­clud­ing North­ern Ire­land, re­main­ing in the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket for goods only, thereby elim­i­nat­ing the need for a hard bor­der. – AP

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