Juncker comments show UK needs to get real

Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Brexit Spokesperson, Stephen Farry MLA, has said the UK needs to urgently develop a more realistic and coherent position on Brexit, as he heard first hand from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and welcomed his stance that the EU stands united in solidarity with Ireland and Northern Ireland.

A guest at the joint sitting of the Oireachtas today – where the European Commission President made a special address – Dr Farry welcomed his commitment to protecting the Good Friday Agreement, adding the UK government’s lack of strategy was fully exposed.

Stephen Farry said: “President Juncker has been very clear that the EU stands united in solidarity with Ireland and Northern Ireland and is fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement. He has also warned against efforts by the UK Government to try to divide and conquer within the EU27.

“Days ahead of what was supposed to be a critical meeting of the European Council, the UK Government stands exposed with no coherent approach, policy or strategy. No substantive progress has been made over the past six months in turning the backstop agreed by the EU and UK in December into legal reality. If anything the UK seems to be trying to wriggle out of commitments already made.

“Increasingly, there is a real risk of a no deal scenario emerging. The immediate choice is between such a catastrophic outcome for both the UK as a whole and Northern Ireland in particular or accepting the backstop and recognising that it is a necessary foundation on which to build any future relationship agreement.

“The time and space for kicking cans down roads has long disappeared.”

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