Last Friday, the Irish Times reported that an influential congressman of the United States of America has warned the European Union that any Brexit arrangement that will undermine the 1998 peace agreement of Northern Ireland could pose some danger to a proposed trade deal between the European Union and the United States.
Last week, the European Union said that it was ready to start the negotiations on a trade agreement with the United States and aims to conclude a deal before the end of the year.
Richard Neal, a Democratic Congressman, was quoted as saying: “If America wants a trade agreement with the European Union, which I think is very desirable – I want it – at the same time you are back to the same issue on the border if you do anything that dampens or softens the Good Friday Agreement.”
Neal is visiting Ireland with Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker who said last Wednesday that the United States would also not agree to any trade deal with the United Kingdom if future Brexit arrangements that will undermine the peace in Ireland. She reiterated that comments that were made by the congressman last February.
The European Union has insisted that it will not accept any British withdrawal agreement that results in any infrastructure on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, something that would enrage Irish nationalists and could become a target for militants.
However, some politicians in the United Kingdom have urged Brussels to soften this demand to get a deal done.
Neal is the chairman of the Congressional committee overseeing trade. the Irish Times reported that he said that any Brexit deal must keep the sanctity of the peace agreement.
How to keep the 500km (350-mile) border of EU-member Ireland with Northern Ireland open after Brexit is considered to be one of the most intractable issues in the tortuous efforts of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May is in negotiations with the opposition Labour Party to build support for a Brexit divorce deal that the parliament has already turned down three times, potentially delaying the departure date of the United Kingdom from the European Union until the end of October.