Dominic Raab 'stubbornly optimistic' about Brexit deal
Sep 03, 2018, 04:14
The EU proposes that Northern Ireland stay aligned with the remaining 27 bloc members after Brexit as part of a "backstop", or insurance policy to avoid the reimposition of border checks and a risk to Irish peace gains.
"I'm determined, we're going to find an agreement for an orderly withdrawal which is much better than the opposite and Dominic and I think it's possible to reach that in October". "It's essential to conclude negotiations because, with no backstop, there can be no agreement [on Brexit]", Barnier warned.
"We must have a detailed backstop solution which is legally operational in the Withdrawal Agreement", he said.
The EU coined the backstop option that would practically keep Northern Ireland in the EU's customs union and the single market for goods to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, a commitment the United Kingdom has also agreed to.
He described the issue as a "matter of some urgency", adding that he had asked the Brexit Secretary to provide data on how the "necessary controls and checks take place". That threatens to erect an internal trade barrier in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
"The backstop is critical", he insisted.
The deadline was the European Council on October 18, but has been pushed back until mid-November to give both sides more time to reach a deal.
Mr Raab told reporters: "On Northern Ireland we remain committed to giving effect to the Joint Report [of last December], continuing the work on the potential solutions, working with Michel and his team on some of the issues he's raised".
"Barnier is working for a deal, he talks trade to get the Irish backstop through", a senior European Union diplomat said.
That goes specifically for the sensitive issue of the EU-U.K. land border between Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, where the European Union wants a "backstop" solution in case of no deal, which includes terms that are anathema to London.
He said: "With no backstop, there will be no agreement".
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After his latest talks with Barnier, Britain's Brexit minister Dominic Raab said he was "stubbornly optimistic" and "as confident as before, if not more" that there would be a deal.
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