24 October 2018
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has responded to speculation that the EU will only consider a UK-wide customs backstop if it is agreed outside the Article 50 process without prior legal assurances.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Addressing the European Parliament Mrs. Dodds said,
“President Tusk. Thank you for the update and insight into the possible extension of the transition period. Like you I hope for an agreement at the end of this process and an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
The public debate has moved on from the October Council. We now know from leaks of the text that the EU will consider an all UK customs arrangement for the backstop but apparently not within the Withdrawal Treaty. I am presuming wanting to leave the original Northern Ireland specific one in place.
While this would be portrayed as a move forward by the European Union, it is both a naive and negligent strategy.
The insistence of a customs or regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would damage Northern Ireland economically and constitutionally. It would ignore the principle of consent within the Belfast Agreement. It would leave a hugely controversial measure in a legally enforceable treaty in exchange for the promise of a further negotiation. Not something that could be accepted.”