The EU tells Theresa May her Brexit border plan isn’t good enough to secure a deal

Michel Barnier Leo Varadkar

Theresa May will propose to the European Union that Britain could stay in the customs union for years after Brexit to allow more time for finding a solution to the Irish border dilemma.
The “backstop” proposal is the prime minister’s latest attempt to unlock Brexit talks ahead of the European Council summit next month.
However, Ireland’s Leo Varadkar told May that Britain must also stay aligned with the single market for there to be no physical infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The EU also will not accept May’s request that the backstop is time-limited, meaning Britain could be in EU institutions for decades, a Brussels source tells Business Insider.
EU Council President Donald Tusk supports Varadkar’s position.

LONDON — European leaders have warned Theresa May that her new proposal for avoiding a hard border with Ireland would be unacceptable in its current form, potentially scuppering any Brexit deal.

The prime minister is set to say to the European Union that Britain is prepared to stay fully aligned with the customs union for a “time-limited” period beginning once the proposed 20-month transition period comes to an end.

The proposal — signed off by May’s Brexit war Cabinet this week — is designed to give the UK government, civil servants and businesses more time to prepare for Britain’s exit from the single market and customs union.

It is an alternative to the “backstop” put forward by the EU last year, in which Northern Ireland would remain fully aligned to the customs union and single market after Brexit until a solution for avoiding a hard border is found.

However, Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said yesterday that although May’s new idea was a sign of progress, Britain would ultimately need to remain fully aligned with single market rules for the invisible border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to be preserved.

“Any move on customs with the UK would be welcome but I need to be very clear that avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is about more than customs,” the Taoiseach told reporters after a meeting with May in Bulgaria on Thursday.

“The single market and aspects related to regulation are important as well.”

Varadkar said earlier on Thursaday that he was now “seriously” questioning whether a deal could go ahead.

“We need to seriously question if we’re going to have a Withdrawal Agreement,” he told reportes.

May reportedly received a cautious response to her new proposals from European Council president Donald Tusk.

One EU official told the Guardian that Tusk insisted EU leaders would support Ireland’s position.

“We had to say [to May] it was too early to tell. All the news coming from London is very disorientating. Tusk was clear that it is not only about what the commission might recommend.

“They have to get all 27 member states to agree, and that includes Ireland. And Tusk is squarely behind Dublin.”

Following Varadkar’s remarks, The Sun reports that EU officials will tell Britain to simply extend the transition …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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