General Industry

Britain Dismisses Idea Of Irish Customs Border

By Dave Simpson
Britain Dismisses Idea Of Irish Customs Border

Following speculation earlier this week that the UK would call for the creation of an Irish customs border post-Brexit, it's now been announced that Britain has ruled out customs and immigration checks on the border with Ireland after it leaves the EU, saying that protecting the peace agreement in Northern Ireland must be a priority for Brexit negotiators.

Envoys need to show “flexibility and imagination” to devise post-Brexit arrangements in Ireland that preserve free movement of people and goods across the border, the Brexit Department said today (Wednesday August 16) as it published proposals for Northern Ireland.

Brexit Secretary David Davis asserted, "We need to prioritize protecting the Belfast Agreement in these negotiations and ensure the land border is as seamless as possible for people and businesses. We’re making sure UK and Irish citizens will continue to be able to travel, live, work and study across both countries.”

The 500 kilometre crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic will form the EU’s only land border with the UK after Brexit and it’s shaping up to be one of the trickiest parts of the talks, with new Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar adopting a more confrontational tone with Britain over the issue as the scale of the complexities involved becomes clear, and EU officials pointing out the complexities of avoiding customs checks at the border.

While both sides want to avoid obstacles to trade, Britain’s desire to leave the EU’s customs union, reiterated in proposals set out Tuesday (August 15), makes that tough. Varadkar has warned that he won’t help the UK set up border checks and ordered officials to scale back examining technological solutions to minimize disruption along the frontier.

News by Bloomberg. Edited by Hospitality Ireland.