DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP has called for a constructive spirit of engagement from the Republic of Ireland and the other EU27 countries and a genuine effort to reach a consensus.

Mr Dodds also pointed to Michel Barnier’s comments from Wednesday 23rd January when the EU’s Chief Negotiator said; 

“We will have to find an operational way of carrying out checks and controls without putting back in place a border. . . We would be obliged to carry out controls on goods arriving in the Republic of Ireland. My team have worked hard to study how controls can be made paperless or decentralised, which will be useful in all circumstances" 

Commenting Mr Dodds said, 

“I am encouraged by Michel Barnier’s new and more realistic approach.  It is a long way from the dramatic language EU spokespeople were using this time last year. 

We need to see more of this kind of spirit in the negotiations.  It is only when the EU comes to the table with a constructive mind-set that there will be real progress towards a mutually beneficial deal.  

We want to reach a consensus which respects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom and which also works for our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland. 

Whether it is the Lithuanian, Polish, or indeed the EU Commission’s chief spokesman, there have been several signals that people are prepared to look at other options.  That is positive as it shows people are starting to be more realistic.  

We continue to work with our Government in an effort to reach a better deal which can command support in the House of Commons but also importantly in Brussels too. 

The trap of the backstop is the problem.  There are ways forward which do not require this backstop and we need to see a willingness to explore such options.”

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