A complete non-event in Brussels, and really, is anyone surprised?
I’ve no idea what the proposed outline for Northern Ireland’s “regulatory alignment’ with the European Union looks like, but with no details on how it would work, it’s easy to see why Scotland, Wales, and even London see it as a nonsensical hindrance in negotiations, and warn that should these rights be granted, they expect to receive similar considerations.
Reports are dripping in that it is the DUP who called off the deal. To quote the BBC, 20 minutes after Foster held her press conference, May stepped out of lunch with Juncker to speak to her, and by the time lunch reconvened the deal was off the table.
Downing Street insists it’s not that cut and dried – the DUP intervention wasn’t the deciding factor.
If your theory is that this is the government’s strategy for eventually staying in the single market after all, you’d think they’re doing a brilliant job.
Personally, I have seen nothing that leads me to believe the government has a workable plan for Brexit, and just like May and Juncker, I will be sitting tight for negotiations to "reconvene later this week.”
One thing’s for sure - if any concessions are made for Northern Ireland, other ports in England, Scotland, and Wales will no doubt have strong opinions on the matter.
My take is that they can feel fully justified in that.
An article by Peter MacSwiney
Chairman ASM (UK) Ltd, Co Chair of the JCCC Brexit Sub Group