United Kingdom rejects EU plan to keep Northern Ireland in customs union

Elias Hubbard
March 3, 2018

"The UK Government and the Brexiteers have a choice, they either go for alignment with the Customs Union and the Single Market to protect these islands - or they support the EU on the common regulatory area", she added. If the United Kingdom government sticks to its plans to quit the EU customs union after ceasing to be a member state, an FDI spokesperson said it would mean customs and food health controls - whether for a border across the Irish Sea or on the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border.

Northern Ireland would also have to abide by European Union state aid rules if the default alignment solution - or Option C - takes effect.

Ireland and the European Union have called for any Brexit agreement to avoid a hard border including customs checks, in order to protect the 1998 Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland, which ended three decades of bloody sectarian violence.

At their meeting in Number 10, Mr Tusk said "I'm not happy" with the Government's red lines, but told Mrs May: "After your decision on no customs union and no single market, it's some kind of breakthrough and we can start our substantive negotiations immediately".

The UK's Food and Drink Federation, which represents British food manufacturers, acknowledged Brussels' proposals and is consulting with members, especially in relation to potential changes to the UK and Northern Ireland's customs union membership.

The latest disagreement flared when European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier unveiled a draft divorce treaty, which put into legal terms proposals agreed with Britain in December.

Speaking at the parliament in London while Barnier was speaking in Brussels, she repeated that she wanted to avoid a hard border. "Friction is an inevitable side effect of Brexit by nature", he said.

"If we want to succeed in these negotiations - and I want to succeed - we must accelerate", European Chief Negotiator for the UK Exiting the EU Michel Barnier said as he unveiled the document.

For the Pound, panic is yet to set in judging by its recent moves; Sterling is seen steadying following a rough month-end, trading at 1.1276 against the Euro and 1.3760 against the Dollar but let's be clear - all exchange rates are well within recent ranges and this suggests to us markets see a high probability of a transitional deal being struck.

But, he said, the EU's responsibility was to citizens North and South, the Good Friday Agreement, and at the time of the signing of the Withdrawal Agreement [in October]"we need an operational solution".

She called on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to convene the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.

"I find it not just disappointing but sickening that people should really be prepared to sacrifice peace in Northern Ireland on the altar of Brexit", he declared. If it's another speech about what they don't want, then this is not helpful. "So we will have a lot of things on the table".

RBS seems concerned with one of the most contentious issues in the ongoing Brexit negotiations -the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

However, she later appeared to misspeak and said she was "absolutely committed to dithering" on the Irish border issue.

The duo discussed the transition period after Britain leaves the bloc and the fate of Northern Ireland, a day after May clashed with Brussels over the status of the Irish border.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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