Friday, December 14, 2018

An Irish view of the backstop

I hope that the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Eric Varadkar, and members of the European Council take notice of an article in the Irish Independent by Dan O'Brien,

'The backstop demand could end up bringing about that which it was designed to prevent,'

which you can read here.

O'Brien argues that the backstop demand in its present form pushes Britain in general and the DUP in particular too far, risks bringing about a No-Deal Brexit which would harm both Britain and Ireland, and has already caused hostility towards Ireland in Britain.

"Those who came up with the backstop misread British politics and the British, placing a demand on the table that could end up bringing about that which it was designed to prevent," he writes.

My own opinion is that we can live with the backstop for a finite time, if necessary, provided we have confidence that it will not be permanent.

If the EU are prepared to put into legally binding form what they said today - that if the backstop is put into effect at all it will be temporary and that it is not intended to last for anywhere near a decade  - then there could be a chance that the House of Commons can pass a withdrawal agreement acceptable to Britain and the EU.

If the EU 27 will not give Britain legally binding assurances to that effect, the Withdrawal agreement will not pass the Commons and the consequence will be bad for the EU, worse for Britain, and worst of all for Ireland.

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