EU Brexit chief doubtful of United Kingdom border plan as time runs low

Pauline Gross
June 10, 2018

The government said in the proposal it "expects" to get a withdrawal agreement by the end of December 2021.

European Union officials say they are concerned that London is trying to use negotiations on the Irish border backstop, which Barnier again said must be completed as part of a withdrawal treaty before Brexit, to leverage a better position in longer-term talks on future trade and gain a "back-door" into the European Union market.

Yesterday's agreement is created to provide a "backstop" - a guarantee of no hard border in Northern Ireland should other solutions fail.

Sources close to Mr Davis earlier told Sky News he believed Mrs May was attempting to bypass the Brexit cabinet sub-committee and send the backstop document to Brussels without their approval, but she insisted this was not the case.

He said he fears the United Kingdom could effectively remain in a customs union therefore closely aligned to their rules and regulations - but he fight to the end.

Barnier said he and his team are still studying Britain's offer, but that London appears to want to keep the whole of the U.K.in parts of the customs union.

Soros has agreed to give Best for Britain 500,000 pounds ($671,250), angering some Brexit supporters who say he is seeking to undermine the outcome of the 2016 referendum which resulted in a 52-48 percent result in favour of leaving the EU. The current proposal would see Britain applying the EU's external tariffs for a limited period beyond December 2020.

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In a pointed reference to the absence of Brexit secretary David Davis and his negotiators from Brussels for much of the first half of 2018, he said his team were "happy and ready to step up the frequency of our discussions".

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer characterised Thursday's events as "another embarrassing day for the government".

The DUP, meanwhile, will not accept the EU's preferred option of creating a customs border in the Irish Sea, as it threatens the "constitutional integrity" of the union. If it looks like and sounds like a customs union, it is a customs union.

The future of the border on the island has dominated the Brexit debate in recent weeks with ministers on Thursday finding a compromise on the thorny issue of a backstop Brexit plan for the Irish border.

Brussels has said there needs to be progress on a solution by the June 28-29 European Union summit to prevent the return of border checks between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Prime Minister Theresa May declined to say Wednesday when the government would publish a promised document setting out its negotiating position. It stated that the aim of the future trade negotiations would be to address the challenge of the Irish border through the overall EU-UK relationship.

Other reports by GizPress

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