How will Theresa May keep EU-member Ireland’s border with Northern Ireland open after Brexit without any physical infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland? This question is proving to be the most excruciating issue in Britain’s sour grapes that is Brexit.
On Friday, as per a report from the Irish Times, Democratic Congressman Richard Neal, an influential U.S. congressman has been quoted as saying, any Brexit arrangement that undermines Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement could endanger a proposed EU-U.S. trade deal.
The statement, in what is a warning to thr EU, comes in the wake of the European Union saying last week that it was ready to commence trade negotiations with the United States and aims to conclude them before the year-end.
“If America wants a trade agreement with the European Union, which I think is very desirable – I want it – at the same time you are back to the same issue on the border if you do anything that dampens or softens the Good Friday Agreement,” Neal was quoted as saying by the Irish Times.
Neal is currently touring Ireland along with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Wednesday, she said, the United States would also not agree to any trade deal with Britain if future Brexit arrangements undermine peace in Ireland.
Incidentally, the EU also aims to keep the peace in Ireland and has in fact insisted that it will not accept any British withdrawal agreement that results in any infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Some British politicians have however called on Brussels to soften this demand to get a deal done.
According to Neal, chairman of the Congressional committee overseeing trade, any Brexit deal will have to maintain the sanctity of the Irish peace agreement.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is desperately holding talks with the opposition Labour Party in order to drum up support for her Brexit divorce deal – one that parliament has rejected three times.
The UK has until October 2019 to leave the EU.
The opposition to May’s deal comes from within her own party. The concerns of lawmakers are centered on fears that May’s deal will not provide the UK a clean break from the EU so as to allow the UK to forge new trade ties with the U.S. and other countries.