Dublin Rejects British Proposal For Post-Brexit Irish Border
Ireland dismissed British proposals for the Irish border after Brexit as unconvincing on Friday, a day after the EU chief negotiator said they amounted to a demand the bloc suspend its laws for Britain, reported Reuters.
But British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Tallinn, said a solution was “not beyond the wit of man”.
The border between the Irish Republic and the British province of Northern Ireland is currently open to free flow of goods, being an internal EU frontier. But when Britain leaves the bloc, it will become subject to EU customs regulation.
Establishment of a physical border could revive security concerns, 20 years after a peace deal involving Dublin that ended a long civil conflict in Northern Ireland and led to the end of army and police checkpoints.
Britain has proposed an “invisible border” without border posts or immigration checks between the two after Brexit, but given no firm proposals how the customs frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic would be monitored.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday British proposals would undermine the bloc’s single market. He said Britain in effect wanted the EU to “suspend the application of its laws” as a test case for broader EU-British customs regulations. “This will not happen.”
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told Reuters on Friday: “The maintenance of an invisible border on the island of Ireland would be a lot easier if Britain were to remain in the customs union.”
That is something Prime Minister Theresa May has said would not happen, though her cabinet is split on the issue and some have floated the idea of a transition period after Brexit that would still leave Britain in the EU customs union.
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