Published On: Mon, Jun 10th, 2019

EU set to use Brexiteers’ plan for Irish border solution, blocking need for backstop | UK | News

Share This

European Commission officials are plotting to avoid customs chaos by rolling out “IT systems” to ensure goods can continue travelling across the Irish border, through the UK and onto France if Britain leaves the EU without a deal on October 31. The secret plans will be unveiled to EU leaders next week, and promise to address the fears of “the most concerned member states”. Eurocrats have pledged to maintain the so-called “land-bridge route between Ireland and the rest of the EU”.

They insist the fix to mitigate some of the border chaos in Ireland “can be implemented swiftly in the event of no deal”, according to an official Commission dossier seen by

Irish firms heavily rely on using the UK as their main shipping route to continental destinations, with 85 percent of Irelands EU freight going via British ports.

The plans sound similar to the Brexiteers’ so-called ‘Malthouse Compromise’ to the Irish backstop issue – which would see technology replace border checks. 

Brussels’ renewed attitude towards technological solutions will come as a welcome boost to Brexiteers keen to dismantle Theresa May’s divorce deal, and the hated Irish backstop.

EU officials have previously denounced British proposals to use technology, including surveillance drones, to control the movements of livestock or lories carrying farm products across the Irish border as “magical thinking”.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, a Tory leadership contender, yesterday said the Government could pay “hundreds of million of euros” to create a technological border fix and break the Brexit deadlock.

He said: “I think it’s morally justified to pay for that because we both have signed the Good Friday Agreement, we are both absolutely committed to peace on the island of Ireland and – given that we voted to leave and that’s what’s changing the status quo on the island of Ireland – I think it’s morally right that we say, ‘look, we’ll pay because we’ve caused this’.”

EU officials have stressed technology will not be able to provide all the answers or eliminate all the checks to prevent a hard border.

Britain has already signed up to the EU’s common transit convention, which aims to ease the flow of goods between the bloc and its key trading partners.

Brussels is ramping up its warnings for a no-deal Brexit ahead of the next extension on October 31.

In a behind-closed-doors meeting, the Commission told member state negotiators that the current fight for the Tory leadership has made the scenario more likely.

A senior EU diplomat said: “Given the statements of contenders for the Tory leadership, we have to take the no-deal scenario very serious, even if its not our preferred outcome.”

The Commission paper reads: “It is clear that a withdrawal of the United Kingdom without an agreement would have a serious negative economic impact, and this impact would be proportionally much greater in the United Kingdom than in the EU27 member states.”

On Wednesday, the Commission will tell businesses to “take advantage of the extra time” the delay handed to them by EU leaders to prepare for a no-deal divorce.

Eurocrats have thus far resisted making their no-deal preparations too thorough, in order to prevent Britain being handed Brexit deal benefits via the backdoor or EU companies becoming too complacent.

Brussels has produced 19 legal proposals to mitigate short-term disruption to key areas such as airline landing rights, fisheries and road haulage.

The majority of the plans are limited to a six-month period and are based on Britain agreeing reciprocity.

The Commission has opened the door to potentially altering their expiry dates depending on “political developments”, such as another Brexit delay being agreed.

Source link

About the Author