Merkel response to Boris Johnson Brexit plan angers DUP - Foster claims they want to trap Northern Ireland in EU forever
DUP leader Arlene Foster has reacted angrily to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's insistence that Northern Ireland must remain in the single market and custom's union after Brexit.
Mrs Merkel personally rejected Boris Johnson's Brexit proposals in a phone call between the two leaders on Tuesday, effectively burying the plan.
The German chancellor stood solidly behind the EU's criticisms of the blueprint, which would see the reintroduction of customs checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The DUP leader claimed her comments revealed "the real objective of Dublin and the European Union".
"For the United Kingdom to be asked to leave a part of its sovereign territory in a foreign organisation of which the UK would no longer be a part and over which we would have no say whatsoever is beyond crazy. No UK Government could ever concede such a surrender," said Mrs Foster.
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"The EU is not interested in a negotiated outcome at this time. Their position is the UK can only leave with a deal if it agrees a binding piece of international law permanently tying either the whole country or a part of it to the EU’s legal order over which it has no control.
"The true purpose of the 'backstop' is now in the open for all to see. Those who eagerly supported the backstop as the best of both worlds can now see the error of that assessment. It was neither temporary nor an insurance policy," she said.
She claimed Boris Johnson's proposals had "fllushed out Dublin’s real intentions to trap Northern Ireland in the EU Customs Union forever".
"We will not accept any such ultimatum or outcome,” she said.
EU leaders have so far refused to enter into detailed discussions on Johnson's plan, saying it does not represent the basis for a new Brexit settlement.
As the clock ticks down, a new Brexit readiness document is expected to be published on Tuesday subject to the Speaker approving a statement by no-deal planning chief Michael Gove.
The Cabinet Office said the paper sets out what will change if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on October 31.
The EU’s main concern is an aspect of the Ireland protocol which commits both sides to never introducing checks on the Irish border, according to the BBC.
The EU would see it as an unacceptable loss of control if the Stormont Assembly is given a veto and there were no guarantees over what checks the UK would carry out on goods going to Ireland.
The BBC reported that the EU Commission even asked if this was a mistake in the text.
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The broadcaster also reported that the UK is insisting on access to continued access to EU databases for cross-border trade, and that small business be excluded from customs checks.
Belfast Telegraph Digital