Theresa May's Irish Brexit border plans have been 'annihilated' by European Union negotiators
22 April, 2018, 02:21 | Author: Katrina Soto
Pressure to this effect is mounting in London, as Theresa May was forced to deal with a House of Lords demand of the United Kingdom government exploring "a Custom's Union" deal during Brexit negotiations, in line with Labour's position.
"In terms of what has been agreed so far, it's about 75%", Barnier told France 2 TV. This would remove the possibility of a hard border in Northern Ireland, but it is opposed by hardline Conservative MPs.
While talks will continue over the next three weeks to try to achieve a breakthrough, there are fears that the Irish border question could, once again, prove a roadblock in wider Brexit negotiations when European Union leaders meet again in June. "And we are continuing an intensive work programme to engage on all the scenarios set out in the joint report", the British government spokesman said.
The EU's chief negotiator has said there is still a "risk of failure" in the Brexit negotiations as Brussels again rejected the UK's proposals to avoid a hard border in Ireland.
The BBC understands that at a meeting on Wednesday with top United Kingdom officials, the EU's deputy Brexit negotiator, Sabine Weyand, went through the United Kingdom proposals "line by line" and explained why from the European Union side they had not changed sufficiently since previous negotiations and were still unacceptable.
The first was a "customs partnership", where the United Kingdom would collect duties on behalf of the EU for goods destined for the European Union.
Referencing a report from BBC Europe editor Katya Adler - who suggested the European Union feared the United Kingdom becoming a competitor after Brexit - Mr Campbell Bannerman continued: "As Katia Adler reported, they are terrified - in her words - of us being super competitive outside of the EU".
"It was made clear none of the UK's customs options will work", a source told the Daily Telegraph. "We are 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", reports Reuters.
The Brexit riddle of how to keep the Irish border free of customs checks - and even CCTV cameras and "smart technology" - when the invisible line becomes the only land border between the EU and UK remains unsolved and potentially catastrophic for the success EU-UK talks.
"The Brits are therefore focused above all on option B - the technological solution".
The House of Commons will vote next week on a motion calling on the British government to seek to remain in a customs union with the European Union in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland.
The reports came as Britain's former ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers said that United Kingdom hopes of finding a technological solution to the border issue were regarded as "a fantasy island unicorn model" in European capitals.
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