Flanagan criticises UK for wasting six months
Just before Christmas, exactly six months since the Brexit vote, Dublin’s diplomatic patience finally snapped. “The mixed messaging from the UK is a matter of concern,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan told the Irish Times. ““I want to see a plan. After six months we should be moving now from slogans towards having a clarified plan. I don’t see evidence of that, and I find that regrettable.” Comments by British international trade minister Liam Fox a few days earlier about the prospect of the UK remaining a member of the customs union were the diametric opposite of what he had said in September, Flanagan noted. This is is tough talk or a foreign minister but expect more of it. There is a growing sense in Brussels that British stalling is in fact a deliberate tactic driven only by fear of a split in the Conservative Party. In Dublin the fear is that all the reassuring noises about soft borders and the peace process were equally meaningless stalling moves and we are drifting towards some unplanned outcome with all sorts of unintended consequences.