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United Kingdom borders to stay open after Brexit

18 Août 2017

No border posts or physical monitoring should be installed at the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Government said as it unveiled plans for one of the most contentious Brexit issues.

She also said Britain would consider replacing some European Union funding peace projects in Northern Ireland after it leaves the bloc in 2019 to prevent a resurgence of violence between Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestants.

The UK also aims to protect the free movement Common Travel Area with Ireland, and associated rights for UK and Irish citizens, and uphold the Belfast Agreement.

London put forward two options for future customs arrangements with Brussels - the first one would involve no customs border at all and the second one counts with "highly-streamlined" customs checks. Northern Ireland remains an integral part of the United Kingdom, but it is also the permanent birthright of the people of Northern Ireland to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

It rejected the idea of an effective customs border in the Irish Sea that separates England, Wales and Scotland from Ireland and Northern Ireland as "not constitutionally or economically viable".

The UK government published the first of a number of "future partnership papers" on Tuesday, laying out its future customs relationship with the European Union and the need for a transitional relationship after Brexit.

Earlier this week Ireland's European Union commissioner Phil Hogan told the Financial Times that Dublin could block a customs deal unless the problem of the Northern Ireland border was satisfactorily solved.

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It comes after The Times reported that the proposals suggested European Union nationals would not need a work visa to visit Britain to look for a job.

"The Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade have called for greater clarity from the British Government on its approach to the negotiations, and publication of the new paper is timely and helpful in this regard", the spokesperson said.

The UK yesterday laid out its plans to leave the customs union in order to negotiate a new deal with the EU.

"Both sides need to show flexibility and imagination", said a British government source, who didn't want to be identified.

The 1998 peace deal began a process which saw the border eventually become nearly unnoticeable by those crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

But London says the issue of how goods and people will move across the frontier can not be separated from discussion about wider customs arrangements between Britain and the European Union.

"It's positive to see the UK Government committing to achieving a workable border solution between Ireland and the UK, but the proposals seem unrealistic", he said. "Our dialogue should, at the earliest opportunity, focus in particular on the issues most critical to delivering as frictionless and seamless a border as possible: customs arrangements, and checks and processes on particular goods", the paper said.

United Kingdom borders to stay open after Brexit