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Brexit: DUP leader Arlene Foster meets EU officials in Brussels for ‘extensive’ talks


The chief of the DUP is holding “wide-ranging” conferences with EU officers in Brussels over the following few days in a bid to interrupt the Brexit impasse forward of a looming no-deal deadline.

Arlene Foster flew in from Belfast within the early hours of Tuesday morning and met with chief negotiator Michel Barnier and different officers, in addition to representatives from member states.

The tiny right-wing occasion, which is propping up Theresa May’s minority authorities in Parliament, is seen as key to a deal on the Northern Eire border – and has subsequently been granted enormous entry within the EU capital. 

Critics of the federal government mentioned Ms Foster had successfully “taken over” Brexit negotiations from Theresa Might – as she ready to satisfy representatives of member states, negotiators, officers, and prime EU parliament figures.

“We now have a really wide selection of conferences throughout the Fee, we’ve simply come from a gathering with Mr Barnier,” Diane Dodds, the DUP’s MEP who’s accompanying Ms Foster on the journey advised reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

Talking on the similar press convention Ms Foster accused the EU of not understanding British unionism with its plans to resolve the Northern Irish border.

“It’s important that the EU from their perspective understands the sensitivities round Northern Eire and that we’re going to be the one a part of the UK with a land border with the EU after we depart subsequent yr,” she mentioned.

It’s important that the EU from their perspective understands the sensitivities round Northern Eire

Arlene Foster, DUP chief

The occasion chief added that she wouldn’t settle for any checks between Nice Britain and Northern Eire, rejecting the EU’s bid to “de-dramatise” them.

She has in latest days appeared to shoot down a nascent bid by the British authorities to compromise on checks throughout the Irish sea, describing her red-lines as “blood crimson”. An EU bid to compromise by having checks achieved upfront appeared to not impress the primary minister both.

“We haven’t seen any textual content yr in relation to our personal authorities. Our personal authorities was very clear, and we reiterated the difficulty final week with the prime minister that there can’t be any customs or regulatory limitations between ourselves and the remainder of the UK – each methods,” she mentioned.

“It’s not only a case of laws between NI and GB, it’s additionally between GB and NI. I feel that’s very clear, we’ve made that very clear.”

The DUP virtually actually has the facility to sink any deal signed by the Authorities as a result of Theresa Might threw away her parliamentary majority in a snap normal election final yr, and now depends on DUP MPs to move laws with a confidence-and-supply association. 

Although EU sources in Brussels have been optimistic a few deal, Downing Road yesterday urged warning.

British officers will probably be on the town this week for back-room discussions as the 2 sides hope to safe some form of progress earlier than a European Council summit subsequent week, which will probably be attended by Theresa Might and the EU27 leaders.

Labour MP David Lammy, a supporter of the Finest for Britain marketing campaign, mentioned: “Arlene Foster will not be an MP and never even First Minister however has she holds the trump card in these negotiations. 

“It’s telling that now she has gone to Brussels to take over from the Prime Minister as we get to the crunch. Theresa Might and her authorities are within the pocket of the DUP.”

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, mentioned of the assembly that he was “persevering with discussions with Northern Irish political leaders immediately” and “working onerous to clarify and de-dramatise the backstop”, referring to the EU answer for stopping a tough border on the island of Eire.


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