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EU Brexit negotiator says British proposal on Ireland ‘worries me’

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European Union Chief Negotiator in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain Michel Barnier gestures as he addresses the media on the publication of “Guiding Principles for the Dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland” at the European Union Commission Headquarters in Brussels on September 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said Thursday he is ready to step up the pace of talks with Britain as he voiced concern about progress and London’s proposal for the border with Ireland.

“Given the passing time, and this passing time worries me, I am ready to accelerate, to intensify the rhythm of talks,” Michel Barnier told a press conference.

Barnier spoke as his negotiation team published a combative paper on the future of Northern Ireland and its border with the EU-member Republic of Ireland.

In its new position, Brussels clearly stipulates that the solution for the Irish border problem is clearly the responsiblity of Britain.

But Barnier said: “What I see in the UK’s paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland worries me.

“The UK wants the EU to suspend the application of its laws, its customs union and single market (in) what would be a new external border for the EU,” he said.

“And the UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations,” he said.

“This will not happen.”



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