British Prime Minister Theresa May on 4 December in Brussels
Pointed out for derailing a Brexit deal, the Northern Ireland Unionist Party DUP responded on Tuesday by accusing British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government of keeping it in the dark about the latest dealings.
„We have not seen any text (in agreement) despite our requests for five weeks,“ said his boss Arlene Foster on the Irish public television RTE.
This agreement, which seemed imminent Monday, provided for a rapprochement of the regulations of the British province of Northern Ireland with those of its neighbor the Republic of Ireland after the Brexit, in order to avoid the reintroduction of a physical border to control the movements of goods and people, according to leaks in the media.
This border had disappeared after the 1998 Peace Agreement ended 30 years of bloody clashes between nationalists and North Irish unionists.
„As soon as we saw the text, we of course understood that it was not acceptable,“ said Foster, stressing that her party would never approve „a situation where Northern Ireland would be different from the rest of the world. UK“.
But Theresa May, whose Conservative Party inherited a very fragile parliamentary majority in the legislative elections in June, can not do without the support of the DUP, which it has already minted against a billion pounds of investment in Ireland. North.
„There is a risk that the DUP will withdraw its support and the conservatives can not afford it given the latest polls,“ said Jon Tonge, professor of political science at the University of Liverpool.
-‚May be tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow‘-
The two leaders were to talk to each other Tuesday in the early evening so that Theresa May could go to Brussels with a new proposal.
Time is running out ahead of the 14-15 December EU summit to decide whether or not to proceed to the second phase of the negotiations on the future trade relationship between the UK and the EU.
Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster on November 21, 2017 in London
„I will meet the (British) Prime Minister this week, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow, not Friday or Saturday because I will not be here, maybe Sunday,“ said Tuesday the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who had been optimistic the day before, saying that an agreement seemed still possible „during the week“.
May’s finance minister, Philip Hammond, also tried to instil optimism, saying „very confident“ when he arrived in Brussels on Tuesday for a meeting of EU finance ministers.
Britain’s Minister for Brexit, David Davis, assured British MPs that „progress has been made“ and „we are now close to concluding the first phase of the negotiations and beginning to talk about future trade agreements“.
„We want to make sure there is no physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland,“ he added. But „we must respect the integrity of the United Kingdom“, he said at the same time, without specifying how London, which wants to leave the European single market and the customs union, reconcile the two.
The setback suffered by Theresa May angered the Labor opposition, calling it „shame“ by its Brexit referent, Keir Starmer. The latter also denounced the government’s „dangerous red lines“ in the single market.
The Irish ambassador to London, Adrian O’Neill, said that the question would be settled if the United Kingdom decided to remain in the customs union, and warned against „the time that passes“ to reach agreement, while the UK’s exit from the EU is scheduled for 29 March 2019.
The issue of the Irish border is one of three areas, with the bill of divorce and the status of EU citizens, in which „sufficient progress“ is expected before opening a second phase of negotiations on future business relations it lags in London to start.
Among the stumbling blocks also remains the role that the EU Court of Justice will play in guaranteeing the rights of European citizens on British soil after Brexit.