EU and Ireland won’t accept ‘time-limited backstop’

EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

Michel Barnier (R), the European Chief Negotiator of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 chats with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney (L) during a Special European general affairs council on Brexit in Brussels, September 18, 2018.

EU and Ireland won’t accept ‘time-limited backstop’


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With deadlines fast approaching as the last chance for both the EU and the UK to finalise a post-Brexit association agreement, the matter has become further complicated after UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab privately demanded to Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney that London retain the right to pull the UK out of any short-term fix, or backstop, over the status of Ireland.

Raab’s plan would give the UK the right to ask for a “review mechanism” within three to six months of the backstop agreement taking effect and to allow its further implementation to continue only by mutual consent, according to reports.

Ireland and the EU want guarantees there will be no physical structures that mark the land border between the Northern Ireland, which will remain in the United Kingdom, and EU-member Ireland as soon as Brexit becomes official in March 2019.

Coveney took to Twitter to clarify Ireland’s position that a “time-limited backstop” that could be unilaterally implemented by the UK would never get the go-ahead from Ireland or the EU.

“We are not there yet,” the European Commission’s chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, told reporters in reference to the ongoing technical negotiations to seal a Brexit deal, though he did emphasize that progress is being made.

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