Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Theresa May's plan for Irish border 'annihilated' by EU

Theresa May's plan for Irish border 'annihilated' by EU

"There are always difficulties, and risks of a failure", Mr Barnier told French TV.

Sources say reports that Barnier had suspended internal talks on the future EU-UK trade deal until the Irish issue is resolved were incorrect.

Now about 46,000 Brits live in the Netherlands and there was no reason "to believe ... that they will run a serious risk of being told to leave the country", he said.

Last month, the European Council said that a future trading relationship between the EU and Britain can only be agreed upon if commitments already made by London with regard to the border are "respected in full".

Even if Britain and the European Union were working towards a British exit from the European Union taking place in March 2019, this may not happen if outstanding topics such as Ireland were unresolved, he said.

The UK may have to remain in the customs union in some form, after EU officials rejected the UK's proposal for avoiding a hard border in Ireland.

But an European Union official has told the Telegraph that the British proposals - set out by Mrs May in her Mansion House speech - were subject to a "systematic and forensic annihilation".

Peers telling the PM to keep open the option of remaining in a customs union could begin a series of defeats for the Government.

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At a negotiating session on Wednesday, Brussels officials and diplomats said the European Union rejected proposals London first made last summer and introduced into the talks last month.

Both sides have committed to avoiding customs checks and other border impediments that might rekindle violence in the British province of Northern Ireland.

The blow followed a government defeat in the House of Lords earlier this week, which will force a vote in the House of Commons on whether May should negotiate for customs union membership.

EU diplomats said it was created to resolve the Irish border issue by avoiding customs checks between Britain and the EU, while keeping Britain out of the EU's customs union - something May has also rejected despite pressure from some in her own party.

According to The Guardian, EU negotiators are frustrated that the United Kingdom government hasn't budged much in its border proposals since last August, when they were first rejected by Brussels.

While May can expect to overturn some votes when the legislation returns to the Commons, this is not guaranteed: several of her own MPs plan to rebel against the government, while the DUP could decide to pull support for the Prime Minister if plans for the Irish border post-Brexit are not to their liking.

"Those Lords with their privileged lifestyles, I don't think they really understand the impact this protectionism is having on the costs of these things".

Seed investor Enterprise Ireland is spearheading a trade mission to Manchester in a bid to propel the Northern Powerhouse initiative further forward.

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