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Ireland Makes Common Market ‘Warning’ as May Prepares New Brexit Fudge

Customs Union
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The Irish Premier called for the UK to remain tied to the European Union’s (EU) Customs Union, as Theresa May prepares new Brexit proposals that she says will keep the bloc happy and the Irish border open.

The Prime Minister reportedly wants to keep the UK aligned to the Customs Union, and claims that being locked to many of its rules will not hinder the UK’s ability to control trade policy and strike new deals.

She is expected to unveil the new details of the “backstop” option to EU leaders in two weeks’ time, The Times reports.

According to the plan, the UK would collect EU tariffs during the transition period, which has been agreed to last two years.

“Once the implementation period is finished we will be able to not only negotiate and sign trade deals but implement them,” the Prime Minister insisted.

Leo Varadkar, the Irish Premier, appeared to welcome the news the UK could stay locked to EU rules for years after Brexit and indicated the Irish government could accept the proposals.

“I said to the prime minister that any move that helped to align all of the EU and the UK in terms of customs into the future would be beneficial,” he told Irish broadcaster RTE.

“It would help solve some of the problems related to the border but not all of them. It would certainly help us continue to trade between Britain and Ireland much as we do now.”

In December, Mrs. May agreed with the EU that, unless a different solution was found to keep the Irish border open, the UK would “maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market which support north-south co-operation and the Good Friday agreement”.

Mrs. May’s favoured option of a “customs partnership” has been slammed by Brexiteers who claim it will harm the UK’s ability to trade. It could also be illegal under international law, according to the Brexit secretary David Davis.

The EU has indicated they will reject the other option, favoured by Brexiteers, called “maximum facilitation” which would sever the UK from the Customs Union and use technology to keep the Irish border open. Critics say checks will be needed, which the EU rejects.

Mr. Barnier, meanwhile, has said the UK could have a sea border in the Irish Sea, and Northern Ireland could stay tied to the union. This has been strongly rejected by the DUP, however, who Mrs. May relies on for votes in parliament.

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