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May urges EU to ‘evolve’ position on Irish border issue

May urges EU to ‘evolve’ position on Irish border issue

May urges EU to ‘evolve’ position on Irish border issue
July 21
02:53 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May says the European Union (EU) must “evolve” its position on the Irish border issue to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks.

During a visit to Belfast, on Friday, May called on the 28-member bloc to swiftly strike a new deal to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland as the issue would be “almost inconceivable” after Brexit and would cause unacceptable political and economic disruption.

It is “now for the EU to respond. Not simply to fall back onto previous positions which have already been proven unworkable. But to evolve their position in kind,” the British premier said.

May urged the bloc to engage in her new Brexit policy announced earlier this month, which called for a “free trade area on goods” between the UK and the EU, avoiding the need for customs and regulatory checks at the Irish border.

She also hit back at Eurosceptic Conservative MPs who insisted the Irish border should not be allowed to dominate the Brexit talks, saying that the issue had arisen because of the UK vote to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

“This issue arises because of a decision we have taken,” she said. “We can’t solve it on our own, but nor can we wash our hands of any responsibility for it, so we must work together to solve it.”

In a swift response, EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Brussels was open to alternative proposals on the Irish border and that the UK’s policy has opened the way for “constructive discussions” on the post-Brexit relationship between the EU and Britain.

Barnier also indicated that the bloc was ready to amend any of its previous proposals for the Irish border, which have become the biggest stumbling block in talks.

Northern Ireland will be the only part of the UK to share a land border with an EU member state after the UK leaves the bloc.

London wants to withdraw from the EU customs union — within which goods can move freely — but has said it will not reimpose border posts, which many have said might upset the last 20 years of peace in Northern Ireland.

Britain says it opposes anything that would effectively create an internal border in its territory, but the EU verily insists it will not threaten UK sovereignty.

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