Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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The Irish border and the reality of Boris Johnson’s no-deal plan

The Guardian reports:

The Irish prime minister has warned Boris Johnson there will be no “clean break” from the EU, with further fraught negotiations to come if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal.

In a tough message to his British counterpart on the steps of Ireland’s Government Buildings, Leo Varadkar warned Britain would be back to square one on the very issues that it refuses to agree on now in a no-deal scenario.

“The story of Brexit will not end if the United Kingdom leaves on 31 October or even 31 January – there is no such thing as a clean break. No such thing as just getting it done. Rather, we just enter a new phase.

“If there is no deal, I believe that’s possible, it will cause severe disruption for British and Irish people alike. We will have to get back to the negotiating table. When we do, the first and only items on the agenda will be citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border. All the issues we had resolved in the withdrawal agreement we made with your predecessor. An agreement made in good faith by 28 governments,” he said.

Varadkar warned that even if a deal was agreed, the British should not be deluded about the future relationship talks.

“We will enter talks on a future relationship agreement between the EU and UK. It’s going to be tough dealing with issues ranging from tariffs to fishing rights, product standards and state aid. It will then have to be ratified by 31 parliaments,” he said.

He told Johnson free trade agreements (FTA) were notoriously difficult to strike but Ireland would be his friend and ally.

“Negotiating FTAs with the EU and US and securing their ratification in less than three years is going to be a herculean task for you. We want to be your friend and ally, your Athena, in doing so,” he said.

Johnson refused to answer questions about the Irish border or when he had last visited it, but said his preference was for a deal. [Continue reading…]

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