06:07 GMT05 August 2020
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    The Irish backstop issue stipulating the absence of a hard border between the UK and Ireland has been a sticking point of the Brexit talks. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly ready to present his final Brexit plan to EU leaders in which he sets out an all-Ireland "economic zone" alternative.

    The EU is willing to allow a double majority in the Northern Ireland assembly to preserve the new Irish backstop after an unspecified number of years, according to Times reporter Bruno Waterfield.

    Waterfield added, citing an unnamed source, that EU diplomats explain the necessity for having a double majority by citing the Good Friday Agreement's commitment to “parity of esteem” for both the unionist and nationalist communities.

    The journalist went on to say that the EU wants Dublin to accept a customs border in the Irish Sea, citing a lack of political reason for the UK to have a customs border distinct from another regulatory border.

    Waterfield concluded that the offer is regarded as "an eleventh-hour attempt to find a landing zone for a deal before the weekend".

    The Irish backstop is a mechanism that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit. In case the backstop comes into force, Northern Ireland will remain a member of the single market, meaning goods crossing the Irish border won't be subject to checks for customs standards. The backstop issue has remained a stumbling block in negotiations between London and Brussels with both sides failing to agree to what extent Northern Ireland should be excluded from the EU single market and customs union after Brexit. ​​

    Brexit has been postponed several times amid the London's failure to internally negotiate the divorce terms and is now scheduled to take place on 31 October.

    backstop solution, Northern Ireland, EU, UK
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