Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator criticised Theresa May’s ‘backstop plan’ at a press conference in Brussels.
The temporary solution devised by Theresa May has been widely scrutinised by many, including the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Barnier criticised the plan’s attempt to maintain the issue of a hard border on Northern Ireland by stating that it raised “more questions than answers” as a whole.
“The temporary backstop is not in line with what we want or what Ireland and Northern Ireland want and need.” said Barnier, referring to the Belfast agreement.
The ‘backstop plan’ was created by Theresa May and Brexit Secretary David Davis and was released on the 7th of June. This plan was released in order to summarise the issues, objectives and overview of the possible options that they will be faced with regarding post-Brexit trade agreements.
It has been set up as a temporary plan unless the arrangement was agreed by everyone, then it would be the definite arrangement for the UK’s trade agreements.
Downing Street rejected May’s proposal. A spokesperson from Downing Street stated:
“All parties must recall their commitment in the joint report to protect the Belfast agreement in all its parts.”
While Barnier was not particularly pleased with May’s plan, he stressed that he was not rejecting it, but said that the hard Northern Irish border would be time-limited and that the expected end date of 2021 was problematic.
He argued that the UK’s idea of being selective with the elements of EU membership that benefit them, was unfair. Indeed, the UK is yet to confirm their solution for the avoidance of border checks on goods travelling throughout the single market.
“We respect Britain’s red lines. I’d wish the British would respect their own red lines too.”