European Union 'systematically & forensically annihilates' May's Irish border plans

22 April, 2018, 02:35 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • UK's Irish border plans subject to 'systematic and forensic annihilation' by EU, report says

Prime Minister May has been clear in her plans for the United Kingdom to leave the single market and customs union but, in December, the British government offered a guarantee that this would not mean a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"There are always difficulties, and risks of a failure", Mr Barnier told French TV.

It is likely now that the British government will have to concede that staying in the customs union is the only way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, as promised.

Theresa May's plans for the Irish border post-Brexit were reportedly subjected to a "systematic and forensic annihilation" in Brussels - and remainers have seized on the news.

"And we are continuing an intensive work programme to engage on all the scenarios set out in the Joint Report".

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The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, attends an EU meeting in Brussels, Belgium Thomson Reuters PARIS (Reuters) - The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday some 25 percent of work remained to be done on a pact covering United Kingdom withdrawal from the EU, including crucial issues such as management of the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.

According to The Telegraph, the government's proposal suffered a "systematic and forensic annihilation" this week at a meeting between senior European Union officials including Michel Barnier's number two Sabine Weyand and Olly Robbins, the UK's lead Brexit negotiator.

"It was made clear none of the UK's customs options will work", a source told the Daily Telegraph.

Mujtaba Rahman, of the political consultancy Eurasia group, said: "This is the first time in an official meeting the UK's Mansion House proposals have been systematically shot down by the European Union side".

A quarter of the work needed to complete preparations for the U.K.to leave the European Union is yet to be done and "risks of failure" remain, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Friday.

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He added: "We're confident that in the coming months, if all sides work together productively we can achieve a solution to the Ireland/Northern Ireland border that works for everyone involved".

Mrs May could have to keep Britain in the customs union to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

The UK's former top official in Brussels, Sir Ivan Rogers, said he believed the European Commission and many EU states, in particular the Republic of Ireland, believed the "backstop" option was the only viable solution.

This latest blow to British ambitions could reopen the debate on continued customs membership, which has been vehemently opposed by Brexiteers who wish for the United Kingdom to set its own tariffs and pursue trade deals with third countries.

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