Have the EU opened the door to a solution to the Irish border?

The EU have issued their latest directive on no-deal Brexit planning and an EU official followed that up with a very important remark.

The document warns about additional checks and controls on borders for UK travelers leading to increased delays but on the Irish border issue, an official separately commented on checkpoints at the Irish border (A hard border is the centre of the backstop problem);

“Controls have to be done where they belong but doesn’t mean we’d want to see visible infrastructure. We’re working v closely with Irish authorities to try & perform controls away from border if at all possible.”

Doing checks away from the border has been the basis for the UK’s arguments for months, and they have suggested several possible methods that might be used, all of which have been shot down by the EU. The UK has consistently said that even under a no-deal scenario, they would not be the party to build a hard border with Ireland, meaning the EU would be the one’s to do so. The EU have also insisted they will not change the withdrawal agreement to suit any solution to the backstop yet seem to be proposing those solutions under a no-deal situation. It begs the question, what is the EU looking at to solve the hard border issue that cannot be used to define an actual deal, and therefore lead to the backstop never having to be used?

Sounds crazy? Nothing should surprise us in this debacle but this one sounds like one of the more crazy things we’ve heard. There may be some ruminations that we haven’t heard about in this report, and the EU official may just have been theorising but it still raises a big question mark. Let’s see if this news is picked up by May & Co and whether it might lead to something more positive for a deal. If it does, then we’re back on for a deal passing and that will be good for GBP.

Twists and turns aplenty.


Ryan Littlestone

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