Monday 22 July 2019

EU correct to recognise Good Friday Agreement

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: PA News
Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: PA News


Taoiseach Enda Kenny can finally point to a significant achievement in the Brexit talks.

EU leaders will formally acknowledge the potential for a united Ireland.

The move would allow Northern Ireland automatically back into the EU if reunification occurs down the line. The recognition of a special status will be based on the situation which followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

The guarantee of membership will be tied in with an acknowledgement the terms of the Good Friday Agreement must be factored into any Brexit deal.

The wording on the commitment will be included in documents accompanying the formal EU negotiating guidelines.

In reality, all it does is recognise the status of the Good Friday Agreement as an international treaty.

However, it does raise the prospect of a break-up of Britain after - and as a result of - Brexit.

Although in entirely different circumstances, the position of Scotland will certainly spring to mind.

And it does appear the EU is intent on playing hardball with the British.

Leaked drafts of the European negotiation paper show the EU will rule out the comprehensive trade deal Theresa May is looking for - unless she agrees to continued oversight of banks by EU regulators and courts.

The remaining members will also demand that Britain pay an exit bill of around €60bn.

The idea of Irish unity remains way off and is very sensitive for the British government, as it also faces the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence.

But Brexit is a game-changer in many ways.

Trump finds his first 100 days not all that easy

Just another 1,360 days to go. US President Donald Trump marks 100 days in office this weekend.

To describe it as a rollercoaster does amusement parks a disservice.

Mr Trump is getting mixed reviews so far and it would be grossly unfair to draw conclusions to date.

He has found he will suffer pushback against his policies, such as the travel ban on people from a list of predominantly Muslim countries.

Despite promising a more isolationist approach, he did firmly make a mark in the Middle East with an airstrike in Syria on the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

And his administration is firmly ramping the rhetoric up on the Korean peninsula.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the United Nations Security Council yesterday the threat of an attack by Pyongyang against Japan and South Korea is real and urged action "before North Korea does".

Mr Tillerson called on the international community to fully implement UN sanctions and to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

"With each successive detonation and missile test, North Korea pushes north-east Asia and the world closer to instability and broader conflict. The threat of a North Korean attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real," he said.

Mr Trump says he thought being president would be easier than his old life as a millionaire businessman.

It's certainly been an eventful 100 days.

Irish Independent

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