Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Irish warn June Brexit progress needed to seal October accord

Irish warn June Brexit progress needed to seal October accord

"It was a detailed and forensic rebuttal", a source told the paper.

The reaction to the proposals in Brussels means that the United Kingdom is likely to have to go back to the drawing board over the issue of the border in Northern Ireland; only last month, Theresa May said that remaining in the EU Customs Union would "not be compatible with a meaningful independent trade policy".

Speaking in London on Thursday, he suggested proposed economic solutions for avoiding a hard border were regarded as a non-starter because of the UK's decision to diverge from the European Union by leaving the single market.

Last month, the European Council said that a future trading relationship between the EU and Britain can only be agreed upon if commitments already made by London with regard to the border are "respected in full".

This is apparently because none of the customs options put forward would work.

Mrs May had previously set out the UK's customs policy in a speech last month.

Lord Willetts
GETTYLord Willetts is a trustee of the publicly-funded Science Museum

That amounts to erecting a border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which the United Kingdom considers unacceptable.

The government was defeated over the issue in the Lords on Wednesday when peers voted to instruct ministers to consider remaining part of the customs union. She proposed two options for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland.

The EU would not countenance allowing a country outside of its supervision and IT systems to levy duties, said it would place the burden of collecting tariffs on business and said that implementing the system on the EU side of the Channel would be too expensive.

The BBC has been told that political uncertainty in the United Kingdom, and the prospect that Parliament could force a change in United Kingdom customs policy, may be strengthening the EU's resolve not to budge on the issue at the moment.

Yet progress on that is said to have been slowed by the dispute over the Irish border, Bloomberg News reported Friday. European Union negotiator Michel Barnier told French Television that the Irish question continued to pose a risk of failure for an overall agreement on an orderly Brexit.

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