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DUP: Rebellion against an old backstop idea

2019-10-17T09:40:54.244Z

With concessions Boris Johnson has brought the Brexit talks in the vicinity of an agreement. But now the Northern Irish DUP revolts. What's next?



In the difficult Brexit negotiations revolts now the Northern Irish party DUP. It's like December 2017, when Theresa May negotiated her contract with the EU, and the DUP refused the contract at the last moment. At that time, May paid € 1 billion in infrastructure money to the DUP and consented. The question is what the DUP wants now.

In the early hours of the morning, the Northern Irish party had announced that it could not accept the contract negotiated overnight. This is a crucial setback for Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Brexit hardliners in his Tory party have agreed to the DUP. But the resistance of the DUP is not surprising, either, because the current solution, which the UK and the EU have negotiated, means a permanent customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea. That had always precluded the DUP - and the government of May, as well as Boris Johnson himself. In addition, contrary to the previous negotiations, the DUP should no longer be able to overturn the concept if it is not happy with it.

Every side must give in to find a compromise for the Brexit at the EU summit that begins this Thursday in Brussels. And both sides have recently moved: contrary to previous statements, the EU has opened the already negotiated withdrawal agreement with May and negotiated a completely different concept instead of backstop. This is permanent, not just transitional, which is really great for Northern Ireland. The EU accepts that Northern Ireland has access to EU internal market access, although Northern Ireland is not in the Customs Union. And she relies on the UK's promise in a free trade agreement that it will not undercut the EU in the trade competition with lower prices.

An old backstop idea is relaunched

The EU will now wait for Johnson to deal with the stubborn DUP. The British prime minister has recently taken great steps to reach a deal: he accepts that his planned customs border will be moved from the Irish island to the Irish Sea, bringing him to the limit of what he can enforce in the UK. He has also accepted that the DUP does not get Vetozum special status from Northern Ireland.

The new Brexit deal, after all that is known about it, could largely build on the exit agreement agreed by former Prime Minister Theresa May. So: there is a two-year transitional period, the UK continues to pay to the EU, a right of residence for EU citizens in the UK and British in the EU is used. Instead of the emergency solution for the inner-Irish border, the controversial backstop, a concept would emerge, which corresponds in its beginnings to the EU-proposed backstop in February 2018.

The EU suggested at the start of the Brexit negotiations that Northern Ireland should stay in the EU customs union in order to avoid a hard tariff border on the island of Ireland. As this would have meant a hard tariff line in the Irish Sea to the rest of Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May's suggestion had been rejected as saying that "no prime minister could ever accept that."

Something similar could come but now. What was repeatedly rejected by May, DUP and also Johnson is now the core of the currently negotiated agreement: Northern Ireland is to comply with EU quality standards in trade in goods, agricultural goods, livestock and food, so as not to affect the cross-border business on the Irish island , This means, of course, that there must be checks on goods and livestock in the Irish Sea Harbor with the rest of Great Britain and with producers and customers.

Source: zeit

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