May signs agreement with DUP

The final hurdle has been cleared for Theresa May's minority government. Her Tories on Monday signed an agreement with the Northern Irish DUP, which in future will support key bills presented by the government. In exchange Northern Ireland will receive roughly 1.7 billion euros for economic and infrastructural projects. Do the risks of this arrangement outweigh the advantages?

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

A deal full of risks

The Süddeutsche Zeitung slams the agreement:

“This deal with the DUP means May's government can no longer plausibly act as an independent mediator in Northern Ireland, even though precisely that is crucially important these days. … With her deal May is also undermining the unity of the UK. In Scotland, Wales and the poorer parts of England people will quite rightly question why this one region is being given preferential treatment and showered with money. The answer is obvious: the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones formulated it most drastically but also most fittingly when he said that this was a 'straight bung' to keep a weak prime minister in office.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Don't demonise the DUP

Irish Independent columnist Ruth Dudley Edwards voices anger over the constant mockery of the DUP owing to its conservative views:

“I don't like any religious (or indeed secular) fundamentalism, but the DUP has come a long way in the past few years. Politicians whose families, friends, colleagues and constituents were terrorised for decades share power with people who were in, or supported, the IRA. Arlene Foster's social conservatism is probably on a par with where most TDs were less than 10 years ago. Her party is trying to do a deal that will be in the interests of all of Ireland. Isn't it time that liberal fundamentalists in these two islands abandoned their bigotry and tried to get to know people whose courage and stoicism deserves our respect?”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Pure pragmatism

May had no choice, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung explains:

“As the party of the Northern Irish Protestants, the DUP is in many respects one with sectarian leanings. Its views regarding homosexuality and abortion, for example, are not those of the English majority. This may be unpleasant for May but circumstances oblige her to be pragmatic. Because she has no alternative. She has good reasons to avoid fresh elections, and a grand coalition with Labour is simply unthinkable. At least the DUP shares one central objective with the Tories, namely Northern Ireland's remaining in the UK. The Unionists also advocate a hard Brexit, and like May's government they want to keep the EU's external border with the Republic of Ireland as permeable as possible.”