May warns European Union on 'unworkable' Irish border proposals

May demands new deal from EU on Irish border backstop

Trading companies that have no experience in commerce with third countries - non-EU members - should learn about the procedures.

He continued: "How long is it since we stopped doing phone-ins asking for tangible benefits [of Brexit]?"

"This is what we're working for but, of course, we need to be prepared for all eventualities". You have to prepare yourself for no agreement.

He said, however, the backstop arrangement in the final agreement would "not necessarily be ours", but insisted there must be one. Several other junior ministers have also resigned.

The Commission's document says "planning for the worst possible outcome is not a sign of mistrust in negotiations", stressing a deal remains their goal.

In an apparent jibe at the political turmoil ripping the Conservative Party apart, Barnier said "intense" debate about the direction of Brexit is "not over".

In the event of a hard no-deal Brexit, the European Union wants a backstop that would effectively create a border down the Irish Sea between the island of Ireland and Great Britain, something May has repeatedly opposed.

While both the EU & UK do not want a hard border, disagreements over how to resolve this may very well derail the entire Brexit process.

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Theresa May has said that a "seamless" Irish border is a critical element of the Belfast Agreement, even though the Agreement itself does not explicitly state that.

He was also critical of the UK's proposal of a Single Market for goods, questioning how it would protect consumers and businesses.

"We have financial markets as well".

"If her government cannot put in place an initiative that will see devolution restored, then she must move to appoint ministers who can bring some stability back to Northern Ireland; the never-ending drift and uncertainty must end".

"I'm looking forward to with new energy, vigour and vim looking at the detail of all of this".

He also insisted that the responsibility for resolving any outstanding issues rested with the British, since they were the ones who made a decision to leave - and that they would have to be resolved probably by December, as the process of ratifying any withdrawal agreement in the European Council, European Parliament, and British Parliament would not allow for negotiations to carry on to March 2019, when Brexit is supposed to happen - on paper, at least.

Instead, May said the European Union must engage with her Brexit "white paper" policy document released earlier this month, which proposes negotiating the closest possible links for trade in goods to protect businesses and to fulfil a commitment to avoid having infrastructure on the border.

May in December agreed in principle to a binding "backstop" to ensure a soft border irrespective of future EU-UK ties, but later baulked at an EU proposal to achieve this by treating Northern Ireland as a separate customs area to the rest of the United Kingdom.

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