Published: Mon, June 25, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Jean Claude Juncker insists Ireland 'not alone' in Brexit negotiations

Jean Claude Juncker insists Ireland 'not alone' in Brexit negotiations

European Union leaders will express concern on Friday over a lack of progress in talks with London on how to avoid reimposing controls at the border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit.

Juncker said Dublin had the support of all other European Union member states, warning against "any temptation to isolate Ireland" in the negotiations. An update will also be delivered to the European Parliament.

Britain and the European Union want to keep a free flow of people and goods over the border without returning to checkpoints, symbols of the three decades of violence in Northern Ireland that was largely ended by a 1998 peace deal.

"This is an important opportunity to assess the state of play in the Brexit negotiations".

"This government must desist from overselling minimal progress as big political wins, which is what was done with the backstop in December, when we were told it was "rock solid", "cast iron" and "bullet proof" although it still remains to be agreed some six months later".

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Speaking to legislators, he said, "There will be no return to a hard border".

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said Sinn Féin raised the issue of a City Deal for Derry directly with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

A source close to Mr Davis said: "Obviously there's been a back and forth on this paper, as there always is when the government publishes anything".

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer characterised Thursday's events as "another embarrassing day for the government". All parties say they do not want to see the return of a hard border between Ireland and the United Kingdom region in the North.

"Instead, with the threat of a cabinet resignation, Theresa May has signed up to a flawed proposal which is inconsistent with her earlier commitments".

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Ms Sturgeon and Mr Jones said the European Union had been "very clear" that the UK Government's red lines meant the "only Brexit on offer is one which will deeply damage our economies and possibly jeopardise our security".

That position was backed by Juncker, who said the support of European Union members for Ireland's Brexit position will not change, agreeing that major steps needed to be taken by Britain in the talks and that there was not much time left.

But, under pressure from her DUP allies at Westminster, the prime minister dismissed the plan, explaining it threatened the "constitutional integrity" of the UK.

The first vice-president will travel to Rotterdam this Friday (June 22) to address a conference entitled 'Countdown to Brexit: Are we ready?'.

The pressure of Brexit will not ease on Mrs May before the Brussels meeting, with it confirmed MPs will consider House of Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

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