EU to step up ‘no deal’ readiness over Brexit … RTE
EU to step up ‘no deal’ readiness over Brexit
EU-UK statement confirms no substantial progress on Ireland
By Tony Connelly Europe Editor
EU leaders will next week call on member states, companies and all stakeholders to increase their preparedness for a no deal scenario in the Brexit negotiations following
a joint EU-UK statement acknowledging that there had been no substantial progress on Ireland.
In a separate statement last night, the European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said serious divergences remained on the Irish backstop to avoid a hard border.
Next week’s European Council has long been seen as critical point at which the UK would have to have made substantial progress on the Irish issue.
London has put forward a UK-wide backstop idea, in which Britain as a whole would remain in the customs union for a temporary period in order to avoid customs checks on the border between Ireland and the UK and
along the Irish Sea.
However, the European Commission and other member states have all but rejected it.
Last night, EU and UK negotiators said they had made some progress on non-controversial aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement.
In a joint statement both parties said they recognised that the backstop would have to involve both customs and the alignment of EU rules on the single market, in line with paragraph 49 of last December’s Joint
They also agreed that the backstop would have to be given legal effect.
But in a separate statement, Mr Barnier said serious divergences remained and it is clear that this increases the prospect of a breakdown in the negotiations over Ireland.
Leaked draft conclusions of next week’s summit include a call to all EU member states and stakeholders to accelerate their readiness for a no deal scenario.