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DUP hits out at EU after negotiators reject all British proposals to avoid Irish hard border

The future is still uncertain regarding Brexit, Northern Ireland and the border
The future is still uncertain regarding Brexit, Northern Ireland and the border

The DUP has accused the EU of ‘bully-boy tactics’ over reports its negotiators have “comprehensively rejected” all British proposals for avoiding a hard border in Ireland.

Friday's Daily Telegraph reported senior EU diplomatic sources saying Theresa May’s plan for avoiding a hard border was subjected to a “systematic and forensic annihilation” this week at a meeting between EU officials and Olly Robbins, the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator.

Reacting to the story, DUP MEP Diane Dodds said: “The latest Brussels bully-boy tactics are a new low in the Brexit process. Following on from Donald Tusk’s intervention earlier this week, it is clear that the EU’s capacity for compromise and creativity is severely lacking.

“At a critical time for negotiations, there is a need for cool heads and practical minds. Differences should be thrashed out at the negotiating table, not through press headlines.

"Any implied threat by Michel Barnier to suspend trade talks again is counterproductive. This shows scant regard not just for communities in Northern Ireland but for German car manufacturers and French farmers who rely on Great Britain as their primary market.

"The EU, including Dublin, have a joint responsibility alongside our UK Government to identify workable options to bridge gaps."

Map of the Irish border which has nearly 300 crossings (PA Graphics)

SDLP Colum Eastwood called on the British Government to settle the Irish Border issue with the EU and allow Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union and the single market.

“It is now crystal clear that the British Government need to get their heads out of the sand,” he said.

“Theresa May can no longer try to ride both horses – on one hand reiterating her so-called commitment to no border in Ireland and on the other hand propose no workable solutions to prevent a border here.

“The British Government must now move to the only sensible, credible and practical solution for preventing a hard border in Ireland and that is to retain full alignment with the customs union and the single market.”

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