NI border on agenda as Brexit talks begin in earnest
The rules applying to Northern Ireland after Brexit are on the agenda of this meeting – the first one examining the terms of separation between the UK and the EU after an initial round of talks to set the framework of negotiations last month.
According to the agenda of the second round of talks, “the issues related to Northern Ireland and the governance of the withdrawal agreement will be addressed by the Coordinators,” who are higher-level negotiators on both sides.
Three negotiating groups are also in place to discuss the rights of British and European citizens in each others’ jurisdictions after Brexit, the financial settlement for the UK’s existing commitments to the EU and “other separation issues” including legal aspects.
Talks on the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU, such as potential duties and customs checks on agricultural products will only start when EU member states agree that “sufficient progress has been made in all areas of the first phase of the negotiations” – those under discussion from this week.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has slammed the UK’s negotiating position in Brexit talks. “There is no leadership on Brexit. Various ministers talk about hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no deal being better than a bad deal. The worst possible deal is no deal, both for them and for us,” he said. “The lack of any coherence is a huge problem for us.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil's Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly has criticised the Irish Government fo "not taking Brexit seriously enough". He told the Irish Farmers Journal that by his party's count, only a quarter of the extra civil servants sanctioned to deal with Brexit had been hired.