, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Breaking: the EU will issue a letter later this morning spelling out reassurances on the Irish backstop. The letter has been penned by European Council President @eucopresident Donald Tusk and Commission president @JunckerEU. A simultaneous letter will be sent by PM @theresa_may
The EU letter will contain a series of reassurances about the Irish backstop. These include a declaration that the backstop is not the optimal solution, that it won’t undermine the Good Friday Agreement, it is not part of an EU ploy to trap the UK nor is it designed to “annex” NI
The letter will insist there can be no renegotiation of the backstop or Withdrawal Agreement.
It’s understood the EU has resisted a request from London that the letter spell out that that backstop will only take effect for one year.
The EU letter will go into some detail, reemphasising what is already in the Withdrawal Agreement. Jean-Claude Juncker is also expected to say that the Commission, as the negotiating partner in the trade talks, will do its best to pursue the talks quickly and smoothly
But the EU will not commit to guaranteeing what the substance of that future trade relationship will look like.
In general, I understand the UK side was pushing more for an emphasis on a firm rendezvous for exiting the backstop, as per the Swire Amendment, which recommended an alternative to the backstop within 12 mths of the end of the transition
This has been rejected by the EU side who have placed more emphasis on the UK spelling out more precisely how the future relationship would specifically remove the conditions that would give rise to a hard border on the island of Ireland.
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