EU's Juncker says US tariffs go against 'all logic and history'

Elias Hubbard
June 21, 2018

"We want to make it clear again and again that Ireland is not alone".

Juncker's a two-day visit to Dublin, accompanied by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, is meant to reinforce the message that the rest of the EU will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dublin on the border issue. I am strongly against any temptation to try to isolate Ireland and not to conclude a deal on Ireland.

Under the EU's proposed backstop option, Northern Ireland, which is in the United Kingdom, would effectively remain within the EU customs union and subject to EU regulations in order to avoid the need for a hard border. "Ireland has to be part of the deal".

Mr Juncker will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, receive an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland and attend an official dinner hosted by the Taoiseach in Dublin Castle.

"A withdrawal agreement without a backstop is of no use whatsoever", he said. "The British government have been unable to deliver on that", he said.

In December, the backstop - which guarantees Northern Ireland would maintain full alignment with the EU's customs union and single market if alternative arrangements are not reached - was included in the UK's agreement which allowed it to progress to the next stage of its negotiations with the EU.

"The United States' decision to impose tariffs goes against that (trust)", Juncker said in an address to the Irish parliament.

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

"There are those that think the other 26 countries will abandon Ireland for a deal that suits them", he said. "Ireland will come first and Ireland's border [with the UK] will be Europe's border".

Referring to the UK's imminent departure from the EU, Mr Juncker told the Oireachtas that there is no deal as good as membership of the EU.

"The greatest challenge we face on this island is to unwrap the enigma, and solve the riddle of Brexit".

"I will thank President Juncker and Michel Barnier for their ongoing support for Ireland and their show of solidarity throughout the Brexit negotiations".

Advances have been made in a number of areas, such as customs, Value-Added Tax and nuclear waste regulation, European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said, but "a lot more work" needs to be done to meet the October deadline.

"There is no stronger evidence of how small countries benefit so much from European Union membership and how membership matters".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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