July 15, 2020

Northern Ireland parties ask Raab for a solution for the border

The British government must resolve the issue of the border between the two Irish to close an agreement to exit the European Union (EU), reiterated today the Northern Ireland parties after meeting in Belfast with the minister of "Brexit" Dominic Raab.

Raab made a brief visit to Northern Ireland today to discuss with the province trainings and business representatives this issue, which has become the main obstacle to closing the agreement on the "brexit" between London and Brussels.

No one has yet been able to find a solution to this puzzle, even though all the parties, with different proposals, want to keep the future border open after the "brexit", key to the economy of the island of Ireland and its peace process .

This was confirmed by Raab after meeting with the majority Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the main force of the Protestant community and partner of the British Executive, and the nationalist Sinn Féin, majority among the Catholic.

The leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, thanked him for his visit, while reminding that he will not accept an agreement that establishes customs controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom after the "Brexit".

That option is included in the so-called contingency plan, a safeguard that would keep the province aligned with certain rules of the single market and the customs union, in case London and Brussels do not find an alternative plan.

For the Unionists, this scenario would place the future border in the Irish Sea and grant Northern Ireland a special status, which, according to them, would endanger its relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom and the territorial integrity of the country.

"We are collaborating with an ongoing process, we want to be as constructive as we can, we want an EU exit agreement that is good for Northern Ireland, and it can only be good for Northern Ireland if we continue to be part of the United Kingdom." reiterated Foster.

Raab, who did not speak today in Belfast, said on Wednesday that London and Brussels have reached a global consensus on the aforementioned contingency plan for the Irish border and that both parties could close an exit pact on November 21.

The minister argues that his government and the EU agree "on the principle" that the contingency plan, which would apply in the absence of a bilateral trade agreement, should include a customs union between the EU and "the entire United Kingdom", and not only Northern Ireland.

Despite his optimism, Raab has acknowledged that there are still "obstacles" and that several aspects need to be finalized to close an agreement, especially those related to the contingency plan.

In this regard, the president of Sinn Féin, Mary-Lou McDonald, today asked him to "not proceed with imprudence" and to fulfill the commitments acquired by his Government last December.

Then, McDonald, the British prime minister, the conservative Theresa May, accepted that the safeguard for Northern Ireland had legal and binding character in an agreement of exit, although it withdrew its support shortly after, when considering that it could put in danger the integrity constitutional and territorial of your country.

"We have told you in very clear terms that there is a need to protect the economic, political and social welfare of the island of Ireland, and we remind you that your Government signed it last December, understanding that Northern Ireland is a special stage and who needs a particular solution and made to measure, "said McDonald.

According to the nationalist leader, all the Irish and Northern Irish parties, with the exception of the DUP, agree that the British Executive must "act responsibly", recognizing the "damage" that the "brexit" can cause "to our economy and the process of peace".

Javier Aja


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