Brexit News, Member News

British government makes new proposals on border regime in Ireland – cautious reactions

By Giovanna Ventura & Dr. Max Helleberg |  Noerr

On Wednesday 02 October 2019, Prime Minister Johnson sent proposals to the EU on the future border regime in Ireland. These proposals initially continue to require the UK to leave the EU on 31 October 2019, with the result that customs controls would be reintroduced at the Irish border.

However, these would not be physically carried out at or near the border, but would be carried out locally at traders’ premises using electronic controls. In addition, Johnson proposed that the EU rules for goods in Northern Ireland should continue to apply for at least four years after the end of the transitional period (probably at the end of 2020). This is subject to the approval of the Northern Ireland Government and Parliament during the transition period. Johnson plans that the government and parliament in Belfast will then be able to vote every four years on a (further) extension of the EU’s commodity regime.

The current President of the European Commission, Juncker, welcomed Johnson’s determination, but at the same time expressed his concerns about the proposals, which contained “some problematic points”. In particular, Juncker called for the “Backstop” solution to maintain its objective of preventing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The balance of the Good Friday Agreement must be maintained. Steffan Seibert, spokesman for the federal government, described Johnson’s proposals this morning as an “important step”. Now it is up to the EU Commission to evaluate the concrete plans. In any case, the integrity of the EU internal market must be preserved and a reintroduction of hard borders must be avoided.

Compliments of Noerr, a member of the EACCNY