Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD in the Courtyard of Government Buildings today, as they gave an update on Brexit following a Cabinet meeting.
Via Prospect magazine:
There are myriad reasons why the UK doesn’t like the backstop. They can be simply summarised thus: because it entails compromise.
The EU doesn’t like it for the same reason, but from a different perspective. It entails compromise of the EU’s customs union.
The UK would have tariff free and quota free access to the EU, to avoid customs controls on the Irish land or sea border.
And it entails compromise of the single market. For it breaks up the four freedoms: effectively allowing free movement of goods to and from Northern Ireland but not the other three.
It also means that Northern Ireland would be outside the EU but treated as if it were part of the single market in some areas, including agriculture—a privilege that even the non-EU members of the European Economic Area do not have.
This is a huge ask of the EU, which is so protective of its single market and so suspicious (with no small cause) of British agri-food, especially meat products.
And there is second irony in all of this. Whilst British MPs complain about being “trapped” in a customs union or Northern Ireland “tied into” the single market, they miss the fundamental point: that as Article 1.3 of the [Protocol [on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agrtement] makes clear, what we see in the backstop is purely what the EU is prepared to do for the “unique circumstances on the island of Ireland.”
Be in no doubt that when the negotiations on the future relationship begin, we will see far less ambiguity and flexibility from the EU. It is not only the UK that is interested in “taking back control.”
The true cause of our backstop obsession (Kathy Hayward, Prospect)
Meeting possible between May and Juncker – reports (RTÉ)