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EU's Barnier Says UK's Brexit Position on Ireland Is Wrong

10 September 2017

What becomes of the land border between Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland when Britain leaves the bloc in 2019 is one of the most sensitive issues in Brexit talks.

"What I see on the U.K.'s paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland worries me", Barnier told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

In its position paper, published on Thursday, the European Union said "it's the responsibility of the United Kingdom" to ensure that Brexit protects the special "political, economic, security, societal and agricultural context and frameworks on the island of Ireland".

In its new position, Brussels stipulated that the solution for the Irish border problem is strictly Britain's responsiblity.

"In the case of the Northern Ireland border we need something different even if the solutions don't fit the way we conventionally do things".

A senior EU Brexit negotiator has stated that he is prepared to increase the pace of discussions with Britain.

This echoes the view of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, who said this July that his government is not willing to help design a Brexit border, as that is the UK's responsibility. "This will not happen", he said.

The UK already published its proposals last month on how to deal with the new border, but both Ireland and the European Union negotiating team remain sceptical about the situation.

PETER Mandelson, a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has called for the United Kingdom to remain inside the single market and customs union following Brexit.

The paper stressed that there should be no return to a hard border "as a result of any new controls placed on the movement of goods between the United Kingdom and the EU" and that the imposition of new customs barriers within the United Kingdom could not be accepted.

"We can not have a physical border on the island of Ireland again that creates barriers between communities", Coveney said.

The unnamed spokesman said the paper offers "a good basis on which to continue to make swift progress" in the negotiations.

"The Union has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, and continuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits and commitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramount importance".

In a paper on customs, the European Union insisted that "the basic approach to be followed should be that the rules applicable operation when it commences should continue to apply. until its completion" after Brexit.

EU's Barnier Says UK's Brexit Position on Ireland Is Wrong