Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has raised concerns that Brexit negotiations “appear” not be going “particularly well.”
Foster told the BBC Radio 4’s Political Thinking With Nick Robinson podcast, “We need to make sure that both sides understand that it’s to both sides benefit, and that’s something I think the European Union often didn’t get in the negotiations from 2016 onwards.
“And for both our sakes I hope that we do get to a situation where we get a deal because that’s what we need in Northern Ireland.”
She added, “In term of Northern Ireland to Great Britain, unfettered access has very much been stated again in the command paper.
“I suppose the concern we are focused on is the transport of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland because the whole issue is about the risk of those goods going into the Republic of Ireland and into the single market.
“We would say that is a very minimal risk when you look at the size of the single market of the European Union, so it’s very important that we continue to work with the UK government in making sure those are minimal checks.
“Of course we have had checks for many years in terms of live animals, SPS checks, to make sure there is no disease coming into the island of Ireland and those will continue but we need to make sure the rest of the administrative checks are kept to a minimal.”
Foster was asked over the impact of Brexit and Northern Irelands place within the UK.
She said, “After this crisis abates, we will see the impact that being part of the European Union will have on the Republic of Ireland. They have borrowed very heavily in terms of what they have been able to do over Covid so the implications of that will come home,” she said.
“In the past the Republic of Ireland was a gainer of being part of the European Union, they were always getting money for roads and all of those kind of things that has brought the Republic of Ireland up to be a modern democratic state.
“They are now net contributors to the European Union and that will have an impact.
“But we have a very good relationship with our neighbours, I think that that is a mature way to be.”