Tusk 'absolutely sure' European Union will accept controversial Brexit treaty

Henrietta Strickland
March 3, 2018

Mrs May says she couldn't agree to a draft Brexit agreement drawn up by the European Commission.

There isn't really a Northern Irish problem here, anyway, as it has been stated by the British Inland Revenue service, by the British ministries dealing with agriculture, they both said they could envisage no scenario in which it was necessary to have a real hard border between North and South in Ireland.

On Thursday, March 1 the BBC's Adam Fleming reports that EU Council President Donald Tusk will ask Prime Minister Thersa May "if she has a better idea to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland than the EU's proposal for a single regulatory area".

He said his government and the United Kingdom government shared the preferred option of avoiding a hard border in Ireland as well as between the island of Ireland and Great Britain.

The EU's draft Brexit withdrawal text included a backstop option for Northern Ireland to follow EU rules to avoid a hard Irish border - if an alternative arrangement is not agreed - creating potential divergence with the rest of the UK.

It says the plan would only come into effect if no other solution to the border issue can be found.

Sputnik discussed the European Union draft on the Brexit deal with Rodney Atkinson, founder of freenations.net website, one of Britain's most successful political economists and a former advisor to ministers.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday that British officials should stop pretending "that the United Kingdom could obtain a free trade deal with the EU with all the benefits of the single market without the obligations".

MPs from her party challenged Theresa May about the issue in the Commons, prompting the Prime Minister to insist that she could not agree to the terms of the EU's text.

She added: "That's the position of the British government".

She has to find a way to honour her promise that the border will remain open with the apparently contradictory pledge that Britain will be able to strike its own post-Brexit trade deals, ruling out a customs union with the EU.

"And now", she said, "they want to conclude their debate, and make their exit by putting the Good Friday Agreement through the shedder".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Cabinet ministers held a detailed and positive discussion and agreed that the speech would represent a real step forward in negotiations".

A Home Office document said the government wants to introduce a registration system and will allow European Union citizens, who arrive during the transition to apply for indefinite leave to remain in Britain after five years of continuous residence.

"We acknowledge these red lines without enthusiasm and without satisfaction, but we must treat them seriously, with all the possible consequences", said Tusk, who's drawing up guidelines for negotiations on the post-Brexit links to be unveiled next week.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland's foreign minister, Simon Coveney, praised the draft language.

She welcomed Mr Tusk to Number 10 for a working lunch, and during the photocall as they got down to business he decided rather than just stick to pleasantries he would get straight into the substance of their disagreements.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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