Ready to accelerate Brexit talks, says European Union chief negotiator Barnier

Jerome Frank
September 10, 2017

Committee deputy convener, Lewis Macdonald, said the Brexit talks were " historic negotiations that will have a profound impact on Scotland" as he welcomed Mr Barnier's "willingness to engage with the committee".

- Concerned about the pace of the talks so far.

The Labour peer, who was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 1999 and 2001, said that people are "hugely better off in the single economy that has emerged across the island of Ireland". We have had a common travel area between the north and south of Ireland for getting on for a century.

The UK wants to avoid any physical border infrastructure in either the UK or Ireland, for any goal (including customs or agri-food checks).

The paper called for the negotiations to secure a political commitment to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the peace process.

"A special economic zone in Northern Ireland could be recognised by the EU as being distinct from the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of single market and customs union access", he said. It is feared that implementing a physical border with checkpoints, as existed during the Troubles between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland in the late 20th century, could reignite nationalist tension.

The EU also published five position papers that outline the bloc's position on on Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as customs, intellectual property, public procurement and use of data.

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The British government gave its first official response Thursday to a European position paper on the future of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.

According to the EU's paper, procurement processes launched before Brexit in March 2019 should still to be governed by European Union public procurement law.

Sky News has obtained a letter being circulated in FTSE 100 and other company boardrooms which praises ministers' commitment to securing a transition period after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU).

Speaking in Cambridge to the British Irish Association on Saturday night, Mr Coveney said that Britain's proposals for a streamlined customs arrangement appeared to be incompatible with maintaining the integrity of the EU's single market.

It will also, Michel Barnier said, be the guide for whether the Commission feels "sufficient progress" has been made on the Irish issues to move on to phase two.

"I think the border is the hard issue if we leave the customs union, which the government at the moment seems keen on doing, then there are some very hard issues that are going to have to be resolved", he said.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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