Diane Dodds MEP Non-attached Member of the European Parliament
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Dodds – “Verhofstadt proposal would be disastrous for NI”

DUP MEP Diane Dodds has said that the EU was not only interfering in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom but pushing an agenda which would be catastrophic to the economy of the Northern Ireland.


Speaking ahead of the publication of the European Commission’s legal text on the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, Guy Verhofstadt said that he expected words in the text indicating that “there would be no divergence in norms, rules or standards between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”


Mrs Dodds said:


“I am not surprised but greatly disappointed by the comments from Guy Verhofstadt. They are neither imaginative nor progressive. Such an outcome would be constitutionally unacceptable and economically disastrous.


Like any negotiation, each side will endeavour to progress its own objectives at each juncture.  However, for the EU 27 to effectively propose creating a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom is reckless. 


I agree with Her Majesty’s Government that proposals being suggested in relation to Northern Ireland and in particular the omission of sections of the December Joint Report are unacceptable. 


Last December the joint UK-EU report concluded that Northern Ireland will not be separated constitutionally, politically, economically or regulatory from the rest of the United Kingdom. Crucially for Northern Ireland businesses, there was a clear commitment that Northern Ireland would have “unfettered” access to and from the United Kingdom internal market.


The Government should rightly reject those aspects which don't reflect the balance of the agreement already made between the EU and Her Majesty’s Government.


Brussels negotiators have lectured the UK that there can be no cherry picking of the obligations and responsibilities of previous agreements however on this occasion it seems to be a case of ‘do as I say but not as I do’.  


Northern Ireland sells more to the rest of the United Kingdom than to the Republic of Ireland, the rest of the EU and the rest of the world combined.  It is simply unimaginable that there would be any barriers to trade across the Irish Sea.


The commitments in the December text are about the preference for agreed solutions. If these are not the EU negotiating aims then they should be honest and make it known that, at the behest of the Dublin government, they are intent on railroading the people of Northern Ireland into a future which is not only tied up in European rules and regulations but which will see us diverge from our main market in Great Britain. 


Such an outcome would be unacceptable to the DUP.”


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