06 March 2018
Commenting after a “constructive and open” meeting between a DUP delegation and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, DUP Leader Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA said;
“This was a constructive meeting. Michel Barnier listened to our point of view. There is a mutual benefit in being practical and pragmatic.
We pointed out that Mr Barnier achieved a remarkable feat of uniting the Conservative Party, Labour Party and the DUP. All have been clear that no British Prime Minister could ever accept the draft legal text. It is important that the text accurately and fully reflects December’s joint report. The fundamental problem as it currently stands is that it challenges the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.
Introducing barriers between the island of Ireland and the United Kingdom would also do severe damage to the Irish economy. Indeed, a ‘no deal’ scenario would be more damaging for the Republic of Ireland than for any other EU country.
There already is a border with different VAT rates, fuel duties, currencies and animal health policies. Solutions for the Irish border can be found. Importantly though, we need to establish the overall relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union after the UK exits the EU. It is vital the discussions on trade get underway.
We will work with Her Majesty’s Government and the EU27 in delivering a sensible Brexit that everyone wants to see. Today’s meeting was a useful part of that process.”