Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said that the absence of any detailed proposals on how to resolve Brexit issues submitted in written form by London causes real "frustration" in Brussels. He argued that if an alternative to the controversial backstop clause is to be found, it must be negotiated in cooperation with the EU and be legally sound. At the same time, Coveney promised that all ideas, forwarded by the UK government, will be studied.
"[EU] will explore all ideas that are brought forward by the British government but they will be rigorously tested. There essentially aren't detailed proposals in writing, which has been a source of real frustration", the foreign minister said.
Coveney also touched upon the issue of Northern Ireland's proposed ability to influence the approval of the EU single market's regulatory changes, saying that such prospect causes concern in Brussels.
"There is certainly a concern at EU level over the idea that a devolved institution in Northern Ireland could have a veto over how the single market operates or a border on the single market operates", he said.
A UK government spokesperson stated on the same day that Brexit negotiator David Frost will continue negotiating alternatives to the backstop clause with the EU next week. According to the spokesperson, Frost has already presented Brussels with "some ideas on an all-island SPS [animals and food products] solution" as an option to replace the troubled Brexit deal clause.
The UK has been trying to leave the European Union ever since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, but the deal, negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to gain the support of the British Parliament, leading to her resignation in July 2019. The key issue with the negotiated deal, which the EU now refuses to alter, is the so-called backstop clause that has been called unacceptable by some lawmakers.
This mechanism was designed to prevent the establishment of a hard border in Ireland by temporarily tying Northern Ireland's regulations to those of the EU's single market until a "soft border" solution is found by the UK and the EU. However, the opponents of the backstop indicate that it could be abused to keep the UK in the single market against its will, since there are no time limits on it and London won't be able to unilaterally end it.