The EU is concerned that the Irish peace process could be used by the UK as a “bargaining chip” in the Brexit negotiations.
The European Union criticized on Friday the UK paper on post-Brexit border with Ireland, accusing it of “magical thinking” and warning against using the Northern Ireland peace process as a “bargaining chip” in the negotiations on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the bloc.
On August 16, the UK government published a comprehensive policy paper, which, among other issues, called for the return of “a hard border” on the movements of goods to be avoided, meaning that there should be no physical infrastructure along the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“What we see in the UK paper is a lot of magical thinking about how the border could work. The UK paper is very good on aspirations but short on workable solutions,” a senior EU official told reporters, as quoted by the Independent newspaper.
He also expressed concerns that the peace process between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland might become a “bargaining chip” for Brexitnegotiations.
“The decision to leave was the UK’s decision, not the decision of Ireland and not the decision of the EU and the UK has to take responsibility for that,” the official said.
The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is one of the major issues on the agenda of the Brexit talks, as London’s pullout from 28-nation bloc might create difficulties for the free movement of goods and workers across the Irish border as well as for the situation with migrants.
The United Kingdom held the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016. The negotiations officially started on June 19, when UK Brexit Secretary David Davis arrived in Brussels to negotiate the terms with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier. The talks are expected to conclude by the end of March 2019.