Brexit: EU will snub Theresa May's border plan, says Simon Coveney

Brexit: EU will snub Theresa May's border plan, says Simon Coveney

Brexit: EU will snub Theresa May's border plan, says Simon Coveney

"What she (May) was saying - and to give her some credit she was much more honest about this than we've heard from the government before - we're going to go through this very complicated, long, drawn out hard process and end up worse off at the end of it", Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told ITV.

"But we also need to be realistic; when a country leaves the EU and states that they are going to leave the single market and customs union as well, you can't expect to hold on to all the benefits of EU membership". "In certain ways, our right to each other's markets is going to be different to what it is now".

In her speech she said the draft agreement was "unacceptable" but admitted the United Kingdom had a responsibility to help maintain a soft border.

And a Number 10 source said: "As Boris himself has made clear, these claims are ridiculous and totally untrue". Her solution has been to ask for everything and avoid the inevitable hard choices.

In the past, former Taosieach Bertie Ahern said this would require a "blind eye".

Mr Coveney said that if an agreement can not be struck, the backup plan of full British alignment with the EU's customs union and single market rules that Mrs May has "committed clearly" to would have to be enforced. Notwith-standing the fact that the Border in the North is far more toxic and politically destabilising, not to mention the history of smuggling associated with it.

Jettisoning an earlier strident view that Britain could walk away from the talks, May appealed to the European Union to work together to solve some of the more difficult Brexit problems, including over Ireland, where some fear the return of a "hard border" with the British province of Northern Ireland after Brexit. She doesn't believe walking out of talks would help get a deal.

Theresa May has said that signing up to "passporting" for the City of London after Brexit would leave the United Kingdom as "just a rule-taker", insisting that financial services will instead be covered through a free trade deal.

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"At the moment the UK Government's proposition is that even in areas of devolved competence - agriculture, the environment, fishing, justice - they should be able to impose frameworks on Scotland and Wales", she said.

She said: "If we were to accept passporting, we'd just be a rule-taker - we'd have to abide by the rules that were being set elsewhere, and given the importance of financial stability of ensuring the City of London, we can't just take the same rules without any say in them". While Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, welcomed the "clarity" that May provided, other European Union officials said there were still many questions that urgently need answering.

"Brexit is due to happen in a little over 12 months, so time is short".

Michel Barnier said: "Clarity about the United Kingdom leaving the single market and customs union and recognition of trade-offs will inform EU Council guidelines re: a future free trade agreement".

"I don't see how we could reach an agreement on Brexit if the United Kingdom government continues to bury its head in the sand like this", he said.

Ireland is another thorny issue confronting the British prime minister.

Manfred Weber, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the European Parliament, said May had her "head in the sand", while the assembly's Brexit point man Guy Verhofstadt called the speech a "few extra cherries on the cake".

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