United Kingdom may crash out of European Union without Brexit deal: Varadkar

18 May, 2018, 16:11 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Brexit - UK seeking previously unthought of 'third way' around the Northern Ireland customs border impasse

British Prime Minister Theresa May denied on Thursday she was "climbing down" on plans to leave the EU customs union.

The so-called Irish backstop has been agreed by Theresa May's Brexit committee.

Given the hard line taken by the Government and the European Union negotiators about the need for a deal on the Border backstop before the talks can continue, the poll indicates that the public will understand if the issue has to be fudged in some way to avoid a break-down. In short, Prime Minister May's office says the United Kingdom will leave the Customs Union in 2021 and that The Telegraph's report is rubbish.

They reportedly agreed that Britain should stay aligned to the customs union if highly complex and untested technology needed to operate borders after Brexit is not ready, but made clear that Britain would still be able to strike its own free-trade deals.

At home, May has to balance the demands of Brexit supporters against those ministers who want to keep the closest possible ties to the EU, and any hint that Britain could stay within the customs union has become a flashpoint.

The attorney general will provide an urgent legal opinion to be reported back to the Prime Minister.

A detailed Brexit strategy dossier will be produced in the coming weeks, the British government said Wednesday, amid accusations that cabinet divisions are holding up negotiations with the EU.

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Addressing the problem of a potential hard border would "require more than just customs", the Taoiseach said.

The plans have raised the prospect of border checks with EU-member Ireland, which many fear could upset the fragile peace in the region.

Britain is willing to stay aligned with European Union customs rules and tariffs until well into the 2020s, as ministers continue to battle over the UK's post-Brexit arrangements, according to multiple reports.

It would also be easier for London to sign up to the "backstop", since it would not necessarily lead to any customs requirement on goods going to and from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.

Mrs May's Brexit "war cabinet" convened again on Tuesday, but did not reach an agreement on which of the two options for customs arrangements on the Irish border - the "customs partnership" or "maximum facilitation" - it will support.

"Whether those divisions can be resolved in the next month remains to be seen".

"If the United Kingdom wants to put forward alternatives to that - whether it's an alternative text to the backstop, or whether it's some sort of alternative future relationship between the UK and the European Union - we're willing to examine that". But officials have warned it could take as long as five years to implement a new customs plan.


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