The UK Government has unveiled its proposals for the so-called backstop for the Irish border. Under this proposal a temporary customs arrangement would exist between the UK and the EU in the absence of an overall UK-EU partnership. The UK proposal includes a clause that it should be time-limited and not continue beyond December 2021.
Speaking following the publication of the UK’s backstop proposal, John McGrane, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce said: “A week ago the Brexit Secretary proposed a solution that only moved the problem, now the UK Government has put forward a formal proposal that will only delay the problem, it seems no matter what way they cut it, solving the actual problem has yet to be addressed.
“The backstop is not a temporary solution, it exists to ensure that in the absence of a sufficient trade agreement there cannot be, and will not be, physical infrastructure on the North-South border on the island of Ireland”. He added that while he understands the difficult political position that Mrs May is in “the reality is that you cannot avoid a border if two countries are operating under two separate customs and regulatory jurisdictions – this is a circle that cannot be squared. The time for decision has arrived”.
He added that “the British Irish Chamber’s Big Principles for a Strong Brexit Partnership give the UK and EU a set of practical solutions that can work for all involved and we urge the UK Government to adopt them without any further delay.”