European Union plan to avoid hard Irish border unacceptable, says Arlene Foster

European Union plan to avoid hard Irish border unacceptable, says Arlene Foster

European Union plan to avoid hard Irish border unacceptable, says Arlene Foster

Inside the EU, both Ireland and Northern Ireland are part of the single market and customs union so share the same regulations and standards, allowing a soft or invisible border between the two.

The Democratic Unionist Party leader said that the United Kingdom government should write an alternative text to the EU's draft withdrawal agreement. "That is his interpretation, we don't think it is a fair interpretation of the joint report from December", she said.

Adding that she hoped for a "sensible" Brexit, she added: "He has put forward an European Union draft text that not only we find unacceptable, the British government finds unacceptable, the Labour party finds it unacceptable, so there will be a need to negotiate from that. That is the critical point for us", Foster said, adding that 72 percent of Northern Ireland goods go to the rest of the United Kingdom.

"The EU is looking for practical solutions to avoiding a hard border, in full respect of the constitutional status" of Northern Ireland, he tweeted.

"I am happy to say we have a shared understanding that there can not be a withdrawal agreement, much less an agreement on any future relationship between Britain and the European Union, in the absence of an answer to the Irish question", Mrs McDonald said.

The Sinn Féin leader added that there could be no overall agreement on Brexit unless the issue of the Irish border was solved. May had repeatedly stated there would be no hard border on the Irish island after Brexit. Placing a border down the Irish Sea would not just be politically unacceptable but would be economically catastrophic.

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Ms McDonald said the discussions were a meeting of minds and the issue of Brexit was now in "Mrs May's court".

Although she described the summit in Brussels as "a good and very open meeting", she said their current draft legal text on the Irish border "has omissions in it, it also overreaches in other areas".

Foster, whose party's eight MPs give the prime minister a working majority in parliament, said she had put in clear terms to Barnier the strength of feeling in her party in opposition to such a development.

"There are three options in relation to future relations, this [legal text] has only reflected the third of those options, it doesn't reflect the first and second".

Foster appeared to offer support for the prime minister's suggestions that lessons could be learned from the Canada-US border.

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