September 7, 2018 / 11:19 AM / 8 months ago

EU's Barnier says EU ready to discuss Irish border with UK

LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told British lawmakers earlier this month that he wanted to discuss with the United Kingdom how to solve the Irish border issue but that both sides were under great time pressure.

“We are open to discussing other backstops, so we can discuss this text, we can make changes to it,” Barnier told lawmakers on Sept. 3, according to a transcript published by the British parliament.

Barnier said that, will effort, both sides “should be able to de-dramatise this backstop” and that the EU was “ready to simplify” the checks needed at the border between the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“But that effort to de-dramatise the situation should be made by both sides,” he said.

Barnier also told lawmakers that if there was no deal then there would be no mini-deals done.

“If there is a no deal there is no more discussion. There is no more negotiation. It is over and each side will take its own unilateral contingency measures, and we will take them in such areas as aviation, but this does not mean mini-deals in the case of a no deal.” (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by James Davey)

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