Ulster Unionist MEP, Jim Nicholson, has reiterated the Ulster Unionist Party`s opposition to the backstop, making clear that Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar risk unravelling the very fabric of the Belfast Agreement.
Jim Nicholson MEP said:
“The latest ‘offer’ from the EU on the backstop is either a calculated insult or a demonstration of arrogance that has crept into the EU negotiating team. The suggestion of a Northern Ireland only backstop is a re-hash of a previous offer which has already been emphatically rejected. It is hard to understand what they don’t get. The backstop eats away at the very foundations of the Belfast Agreement and mocks the principle of consent.
“Both Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar should start listening to the genuine concerns of unionists, some of whom had previously voted for the UK to remain in the EU. They did not vote to leave the UK and the way in which the Republic of Ireland is seen to be using Brexit as a proxy for the attempted annexation of Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom unites all shades of unionism against the backstop. Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar risk doing long term damage to north-south relations and unravelling the very fabric of the Belfast Agreement.
“I would appeal to the EU negotiators to seek compromise instead of confrontation. The danger is that in the eagerness amongst some in the EU to teach the UK a lesson for leaving the EU, they risk wrecking future long term relationships. It is to everyone’s advantage that a deal is agreed which respects the constitutional integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom. To do otherwise sets a dangerous precedent for the whole of Europe in the future.”