Finland stands by Ireland in the Brexit negotiations


Is there a danger that an EU member state will fall out of line, if in the end it happens that the options are supporting Ireland in the contentious border issue regarding Northern Ireland or Britain leaving the EU without an agreement?

– No, it is not, says Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney .

Still, nothing is certain. It is no coincidence that an Irish minister is visiting Finland for the seventh time in two years.

Foreign Minister Timo Soini (right) says that Finland stands by Ireland.

– The solution must be sustainable and small countries must support each other, says Soini.

Coveney would visit Helsinki overnight for a quick visit. He continues from Helsinki to Estonia and Lithuania.

The British government presented its own proposal to resolve the border issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland in July. It does not apply to Ireland or the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has not made a new proposal on the matter.

Britain’s view is that even a cosmetic border cannot cross the Irish Sea, although Britain has already promised that Northern Ireland will remain in the EU’s internal market and customs union until the border issue is resolved.

A contentious separation could weaken relationships

Soini has on several occasions brought up the memories of the barbed wire fences and concrete pigsties that criss-crossed the countryside of the Irish island during the decades of unrest in connection with the Irish question.

– Now it’s a matter of finding a solution that satisfies all parties, Ireland, the EU and Britain, Soini states.

Soini is worried that relations with Britain will deteriorate if the separation becomes contentious. Irish Foreign Minister Coveney said that it must not be the case that big countries decide and small countries obey.

Originally, Britain’s withdrawal agreement was supposed to be negotiated by the EU summit in October, but the negotiations have stalled specifically on the border issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland. How to build an external border for the EU on an island whose inhabitants live and work crosswise on both sides of the border and there can be no physical border control according to the Northern Ireland peace agreement.

There has been no movement in the matter since Britain presented its own solution in July, which Ireland and the EU rejected as too technical, expensive and impossible to implement. On the contrary, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government drifted into crisis when two key ministers, the foreign and Brexit ministers, resigned.

Labor peace within May’s government may have improved, but rebellion lives on in parliament, where dissatisfaction with the envisaged withdrawal agreement is growing.

May’s second test will be at the turn of the month when the Conservatives hold their party conference in Birmingham. Will May last and will the government stay together or is there an election ahead?

Nothing will move in the Brexit negotiations until September 30–October 3. the Tory party conference to be held is over.