14:08 GMT +321 September 2019
Listen Live
    Anti-Brexit billboards are seen on the northern side of the border between Newry, in Northern Ireland, and Dundalk, in the Republic of Ireland, on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

    Conservative MP Greg Hands Thinks He's Cracked Irish Backstop Enigma

    © AP Photo / Niall Carson
    Europe
    Get short URL
    0 30
    Subscribe

    The implementation of the controversial backstop would mean Northern Ireland remains aligned to some EU single market rules, and the UK effectively stays in a single customs territory with the EU, aligned with current and future EU rules on competition and state aid in the process.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a mere 30 days to formulate an alternative to Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement - but one Conservative MP claims to have found the answer buried in a lengthy secret document.

    The Irish backstop has proven a significant stumbling block in discussions between London and Brussels since Johnson’s elevation to Downing Street. The premier has repeatedly insisted the measure - which aims to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit - must be jettisoned if a no-deal exit from the EU is to be avoided.

    The EU has conversely made clear the withdrawal deal negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May, which includes the backstop, cannot be renegotiated - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has nonetheless invited Boris Johnson to propose alternatives. Suggestions from the Prime Minister have been unforthcoming, but Conservative MP Greg Hands claims to have found the answer.

    In a 272-page report he authored, a product of the Alternative Arrangements Commission, Hands recommends a series of alternatives which would prevent a hard border between Ireland and the rest of the UK.

    A Motorist crosses the Irish border in Middletown, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, March, 12, 2019. The issue of a possible physical border between the United Kingdom's Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU state, received scant attention during the 2016 Brexit referendum. But it has proven to be a major stumbling block in the British government's quest for a divorce deal.
    © AP Photo / Peter Morrison
    A Motorist crosses the Irish border in Middletown, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, March, 12, 2019. The issue of a possible physical border between the United Kingdom's Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU state, received scant attention during the 2016 Brexit referendum. But it has proven to be a major stumbling block in the British government's quest for a divorce deal.

    This includes “a series of administrative and technological measures”, such as a tier trusted trader scheme similar to the one between the US and Canada, which would allow firms to cut down on paperwork and avoid routine customs checks at the border.

    Incoming food and animals would also be checked away from the border and breaks and a free trade zone for Irish towns close to the border would be put in place.

    “Our Commission concluded that alternative arrangements are the way to break the Brexit deadlock. It’s not realistic to believe they can all be up and running by 31st October but that is no reason to be discouraged. Many of the measures can be brought in quite quickly. Some like the trusted trader scheme might take 12 to 15 months. Others could take a maximum of two to three years. So, there will still need to be some kind of transition period. Of course, more work needs to be done – and fast. But thankfully, Mrs Merkel is among the growing number who are open-minded on this,” Hands claims.

    Related:

    EU Has Put Backstop in Place to 'Tie Us In as Much as Possible' – Brexit Party Member
    Johnson's Push to Scrap Brexit Backstop Makes No-Deal Outcome Most Likely - Irish Deputy PM
    Macron Demands Visibility on Backstop in 30 Days as Johnson Rules Out Ireland Border Checks
    Irish Backstop: France, Germany Will Facilitate Brexit Deal if UK Has Alternative – Prof
    Tags:
    irish republicans, Irish unification, Irish Question, Irish border, Irish Parliament, backstop solution
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik