Published On: Fri, Sep 13th, 2019

Brexit news: Boris moves towards Irish-only backstop but EU still not happy | UK | News

In a bid to break the Brexit deadlock, his negotiating team have devised a strategy to prevent customs checks from emerging on the Irish border. Under the plan, checks on industrial goods would take place in businesses premisses and then use so-called “maximum facilitation” techniques to monitor the products as they cross the border. Truster trader schemes and electronic pre-authorisation would ensure that Northern Ireland and the Republic remain in separate customs territories.

British negotiators made clear that under no circumstances can Northern Ireland or the rest of Great Britain be trapped inside a customs union with the EU.

This would allow Mr Johnson to independently set the UK’s trade tariffs and conclude its own trade deals.

Authorities would use an “enhanced market surveillance mechanism”, which includes surveillance, data and tough penalties, to deter potential smugglers from entering the EU’s single market.

In a separate agreement, all-island regulatory zones would be created to safeguard food and plant health, the Single Electricity Market and the Common Travel Area.

Dublin and Belfast would continue to remain aligned on the three key areas to ensure the Good Friday peace agreement is upheld.

David Frost, the Prime Minister’s top Europe adviser, has made the offers during his weekly trips to Brussels to meet Stephanie Riso, the EU’s deputy negotiator.

He also discussed plans to make the backstop “democratic” by handing “institutions and parties” in Northern Ireland a key role in the decision-making process.

Under the plan, Stormont would be given a seat at the negotiating table if any regulatory changes are made and during the process of exiting the backstop.

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Mr Frost has been largely criticised for not delivering an actual plan to the negotiating table during his recent visits.

He has made clear to his EU counterparts that he will not make a formal offer for it only to be shut down by Brussels and leaked to the media.

During the talks, the British official has made clear that the political declaration on the future relationship must be tweaked to show that a basic free-trade agreement is the end goal.

This means generous offers made by Theresa May to remain “dynamically aligned” to Brussels rules and regulations will be scrapped.

Mr Frost has also stressed that Britain must be allowed to enjoy a “looser” defence and security relationship than envisaged by the former prime minister.

This would be reinforced by numerous references to the UK’s sovereignty included in the withdrawal agreement and political declaration.

The UK also said that the transition period, which keeps Britain inside the EU’s single market and customs union, would end in 2020 and not be extended.

Experts have cast doubt on whether the British proposals will be acceptable for the EU going forward.

David Henig, a former UK trade negotiator, said: “The dilemma the EU face is whether to encourage the UK though the proposals are nowhere close to acceptable, reject the plans outright, or try to find a new form of words including both the existing backstop rebranded and this approach, knowing MPs will probably reject that.”

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