“The EU is ensuring continuity of train services between the EU (France and Ireland) and the United Kingdom in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The Council today adopted a regulation on a temporary extension of the validity of certain authorisations, certificates and licences that are needed to run the services. The aim of this extension is to allow the parties concerned to conclude the necessary agreements and take any other measures to avoid disruption, taking into account the status of the UK as a non-EU country.”
“This is the last Brexit contingency regulation to be adopted in the field of transport. Five other Brexit-related regulations in the area of transport were adopted by the Council (General Affairs) on 19 March. All these legal acts will be signed by representatives of the Council and the Parliament on 25 March and subsequently published in the EU Official Journal.”
Prime Minister Theresa May will address her own political family members of parliament (MPs) with a request to send a message to Brussels informing they would support her Brexit deal if a plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland is replaced. (Image: Berlaymont).
British Prime Minister Theresa May intends to seal a bilateral treaty with the Irish government as a tool to remove the so-called “backstop” arrangement from Article 50 deal with the European Union, according to media reports.
May thought a deal with Ireland would remove the opposition to her Brexit plan from the Democratic Unionist Party that supports her minority government and from discontent pro hard Brexit MPs in Conservative Party, the Sunday Times reported.
The chances of sealing a deal on the UK withdrawal from the European Union this month are receding, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, and the EU’s Brexit negotiator called on Britain to make decisive choices.
The UK and the EU agreed to include a guarantee clause — dabbed as a “backstop” — in the Article 50 Agreement. But the EU’s proposal for how the backstop would work essentially means a border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. That was unacceptable to Britain.
London made its own proposal to maintain the whole of the UK in a Customs union as a temporary measure. The EU declines to accept it.
The European Union will not conclude an Article 50 agreement with the UK or give London a transition period after Brexit without a deal that prevents a “hard” border in Ireland, the bloc’s main negotiator Michel Barnier said.
Addressing the joint news conference with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, Michel Barnier said he would seek to agree the whole 100 percent of a accord with London.
“We are still not at the 100 percent,” Barnier said. “What is missing is a solution for the issue of Ireland.
“Without an operational backstop there will not be an accord and there will not be a transition period. That is certain.”
The EU was working to improve its offer for the so-called backstop, or an emergency fix to keep the Irish border open regardless of Brexit consequences, but that it must be functional, operational and all-weather, he added.
“It cannot have an end-date. It must be applicable unless and until another solution is found,” Barnier said.
In spite of the absence of a proposal by any political party to establish conventional border structure dividing the island of Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has considered necessary to give European leaders his warning of related risks of returning to a hard border.
Speaking at a press conference while concluding Brexit Summit in Brussels Mr Varadkar said he decided to make clear that the Irish Government was not exaggerating its concerns about the consequences of a no deal for Northern Ireland and the erection of a border.
Taoiseach described his vision using recent Irish Times, which reminded of the bombing of a customs post in 1972 and which Mr Varadkar showed to European leaders at dinner, as “a useful prop to demonstrate to all the European leaders the extent to which the concerns about the re-emergence of a hard border and the possibility of a return to violence are very real”.
“I just wanted to make sure that there was no sense in the room that in any way anyone in the Irish Government was exaggerating the real risk of a return to violence in Ireland,” Mr Varadkar said.
The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the ally of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, said that it wanted a Brexit that worked for the Republic of Ireland too, as its leader Arlene Foster travels to Brussels for talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is the apple of discord in Brexit talks between the UK and the EU, and both sides are trying to work out how to monitor and regulate trade over the border, without creating standard infrastructure.
AMENDED: “There is only one red line… when we are treated differently from the rest of the United Kingdom”, Foster said at press-conference in European Parliament.