May’s Allies Slam EU’s Irish Brexit Proposals as ‘Unacceptable’

EU Said to Deliver Draft Brexit Deal

The European Union’s opposition to turning Theresa May’s pledge to avoid a border in the Irish Sea after Brexit into a legal guarantee is unacceptable, according to the Democratic Unionist Party, which keeps her in power.

The bloc is resisting British efforts to insert an explicit commitment that Northern Ireland will be treated the same as the rest of the U.K. into the Brexit treaty. May made that promise in December to placate the DUP. The EU believes the matter is an internal U.K. issue and doesn’t have a place in the legal withdrawal agreement, according to a European diplomat, who asked not be identified as deliberations are private.

“For the EU 27 to effectively propose creating a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom is reckless,” DUP MEP Diane Dodds said in an e-mail statement.

On Wednesday, the bloc will publish the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement, which will clarify Northern Ireland will essentially remain in the customs union and parts of the single market “unless and until” the issue is solved by a future trading accord, according to a European diplomat. The draft will probably lay out the general headings to be covered by rule alignment, with one official estimating that as many as 60 areas might need to be dealt with.

Such a stark reading of May’s December’s promises would be viewed as politically toxic by the DUP, which campaigned for Brexit.

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