Tánaiste Simon Coveney is in Brussels today for the latest of his regular stock-taking meetings with EU Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 process, Michel Barnier.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Tánaiste said:
“I welcome today’s opportunity to hear Michel Barnier’s views on his recent engagements with British counterparts on securing an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and also to take stock together of where we are. With only a few weeks remaining before October’s European Council, the onus is firmly on the UK to come up with credible, fully-worked out and legally operable proposals in a timeframe that allows these proposals to be properly considered before the Council.”
The Tánaiste also said:
“Any proposals must achieve the same outcome as the backstop. The test for this is crystal clear – any solutions must avoid a hard border, fully protect the Good Friday Agreement and North-South cooperation, and preserve the all-island economy, as well the integrity of the EU Single Market and Ireland’s place in it. To date there is nothing else on the table that achieves the same outcome as the backstop. Unless and until it is shown that any alternative arrangements could pass this test, the EU position remains that the Withdrawal Agreement including the backstop is the only way forward.”