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UK's 'soft' Irish Border plan may be rejected by EU, Coveney warns

05 March, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • UK's 'soft' Irish Border plan may be rejected by EU, Coveney warns

They accuse Britain of wanting to cherry-pick benefits of European Union membership without any of the responsibilities.

Theresa May has used a landmark speech on Brexit to hit back at the EU's refusal to offer Britain a bespoke deal after it leaves the bloc.

And she declined to defend Boris Johnson's comparison of the border to crossing between London congestion zones in Camden and Islington, but insisted both of them are "absolutely clear" that there will not be a hard border.

But she acknowledged for the first time that Britain may suffer new trade barriers as a result of her move, which is driven by a desire to end mass migration and throw off European Union regulations.

And May said "bold and creative thinking" could lead to solutions for trade in services and other areas.

During her speech, Theresa May also strongly rejected the possibility of a second referendum on European Union membership.

"So rather than having to bring two different systems closer together, the task will be to manage the relationship once we are two separate legal systems", she will say.

"If this is cherry-picking, then every trade relationship is cherry-picking", she said, noting that all trade deals are unique.

Dr Fox added remaining in the customs union would "limit our ability to reach new trade agreements with the world's fastest-growing economies", and restrict the UK's ability to help "the world's poorest nations to trade their way out of poverty". Miles Celic of financial services lobby group TheCityUK described it as "ambitious and pragmatic".

British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that her country is leaving the single market, and the mutual commercial access of Brussels and London will be "smaller than now".

Stephen Martin, head of the Institute of Directors, said "business leaders will welcome the prime minister's honest admission that negotiating the future U.K. -EU relationship will involve making hard choices".

UUP MEP Jim Nicholson welcomed Mrs May's speech and said it was a time for pragmatism and not for Brussels and Dublin "sabre-rattling" over the border.

Britain and the bloc have promised there will be no customs posts or other impediments along the 310-mile border.

The PM will be pleased to unite both sides of the Conservative Party behind her vision but there were signals that any suspension of hostilities could be temporary.

Asked for her message to the financial services companies, Mrs May said: "What we're looking to develop is a relationship that means they can stay here in the United Kingdom as part of the City of London, that they will be continuing to provide their services across the European Union but they will know - given the sums of money involved, given the importance of financial stability, given the risk that actually the United Kingdom bears as a result of having the City here - that it's important that we do that on the basis of recognised regulatory standards, but we can't just accept rules made elsewhere without us having a say in them".

"Neither of us can have exactly what we want. Let's get on with it".



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