Eli Ridder | The Post
British Prime Minister Theresa May rejected a European Union proposal that would allow for Northern Ireland’s status within the continental alliance to remain largely unchanged after London leaves, calling it a constitutional threat.
A legal agreement in draft form published by the E.U. includes a “common regulatory area” on the island of Ireland after “Brexit”, the planned departure of the United Kingdom from the union.
May called the proposal a threat to the “constitutional integrity” of the U.K., of which Northern Ireland is a part, saying that “no U.K. prime minister could ever agree” to the deal, reported the BBC.
The E.U. said the contentious suggestion is not intended to “provoke” London, but instead called on Downing Street to come up with alternatives to the proposal.
Chief negotiator for the union, Michel Barnier, said the document was “no surprise” when unveiling the Northern Ireland concept, describing it as a legally-worded assessment of what had been agreed so far in deal-making, according to U.K. media.
Mr. Barnier said the file had “concrete and realistic solutions” over the “hard border” issue when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
The London-administered Northern Ireland takes up a minority of the Ireland island, while the sovereign Republic of Ireland makes up its majority south.
Thus, discussions have popped up over the existence of a strong border between the south and northern countries on the island.
The U.K. does not have any other land borders with European countries, with nearby France across the English Channel.
More details to follow. Image of Theresa May from the Financial Tribune.