English extract from press statement by Michel Barnier following the latest round of Article 50 negotiations
The EU and the UK agreed to include in the withdrawal agreement text published yesterday a note on how the Irish issues will be dealt with.
We have agreed the following:
- Both sides remain committed to December's Joint Report in all its aspects – all.
- We have agreed that all the issues identified in the EU text must be addressed for finding a viable and legally soundsolution.
- In particular, we yesterday agreed that a backstop solution must form part of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement.
- We have also agreed on some elements of the Protocol, notably those related to the Common Travel Area and North-South cooperation.
As I said several times, the backstop will apply unless and until another solution is found.
This is what I also discussed this morning with the Tánaiste Simon Coveney.
We are ready to look at all options which allow us to meet our objectives, in a constructive way.
This is what I have underlined, on the same terms, in my recent meetings with the leaders of Sinn Féin, the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party.
Ireland and Northern Ireland form a distinct strand within the framework of the negotiations of the UK's orderly withdrawal from the EU. I repeat within the framework of the withdrawal.
In this context, we have agreed with the UK on a detailed agenda for discussions over the coming weeks.
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