06 July 2018
Responding to remarks made by the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels this afternoon, DUP MEP Diane Dodds said:
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
“These comments by Mr Barnier on the Northern Ireland border reflect the deeply flawed and counterproductive stance adopted by the EU in negotiations to date.
To suggest that others have dramatised the border issue amounts to playacting. It conveniently forgets that it is the Brussels ‘cart before the horse’ strategy which has unhelpfully stalled the process over a backstop text, preventing talks on critical trade-focused solutions.
This is not the only contradiction in today’s speech. Mr Barnier wants to assure us that no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom will be created under the EU customs plan, claiming any new controls ‘are only technical controls on goods, no more no less.’ However he is less enthusiastic to explain why such technical checks would constitute such a grave threat if placed on the land border between the UK and the Irish Republic.
The DUP will not countenance any solution that erects barriers within the UK internal market or weakens either the economic or constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom as a whole. No level of EU interference will change that. It is crucial that in the coming weeks both sides get down to the important work of agreeing a future framework for relations on trade and customs post-Brexit. This remains the best route for securing the widest possible, most pragmatic solution not just to Northern Ireland’s circumstances but across all borders with the EU.’’