Friday 21 September 2018

EU expects Britain to provide 'imaginative' solutions for Ireland

Prime Minister Theresa May greets President of the European Council Donald Tusk at 10 Downing Street in London, ahead of talks Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May greets President of the European Council Donald Tusk at 10 Downing Street in London, ahead of talks Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The European Council expects Britain to present and commit to "flexible and imaginative solutions" in relation to Ireland including for on how to avoid a hard border.

The demand is among the conclusions reached by the leaders of the 27 remaining EU Member States at the end of their meeting where it was decided that not enough progress has been made in Brexit talks so far to enter the next phase of negotiations on trade.

In relation to Ireland the Council said that there has been some progress the objectives of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area.

Their conclusions state that the EU's negotiator is to pursue further refinement of these principles, "taking into account the major challenge that the UK's withdrawal represents" including avoiding a hard border.

The conclusion states that that the Council expects the UK "to present and commit to flexible and imaginative solutions called for by the unique situation of Ireland".

The Council  welcomed progress that has been made on citizens' rights and said this needs to be built on to provide the "necessary legal certainty and guarantees" for citizens.

Meanwhile, they note that while the UK has said it will honour its financial obligations to the EU - the so-called divorce bill - "this has not yet been translated into a firm and concrete commitment from the UK to settle all of these obligations."

The Council called for the Brexit talks to continue to seek agreement on the outstanding issues in order for the negotiations to move on to the second phase on the UK's future relationship with the EU "as soon as possible".

EU leaders including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar are to reassess the state of progress in the negotiations at their next meeting in December, with a view to determining whether sufficient progress has been achieved on each of the three areas.

The Council decided that in the meantime it will start preparatory discussions on the phase two issues internally among the 27 remaining member states.

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