Boris Johnson’s New Brexit Plan: Here Is What We Know So Far


(Bloomberg) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to present his blueprint for a Brexit deal to the European Union within days. How the plan is received in Brussels will determine whether the country leaves the European Union with a deal.

The key sticking point in talks has been how to avoid checks on goods crossing the Irish border which both sides want to keep free from infrastructure. The history of conflict on the island of Ireland means neither side wants to stoke tensions with the introduction of checkpoints at the frontier.

Here is what we know so far about the prime minister’s plan:

  • The U.K. has said some kind of customs checks will need to take place on goods crossing the Irish border.
  • Johnson does not want Northern Ireland to be part of the EU’s customs union, but to stay part of the U.K.’s goods regime. This, he says, means some form of customs checking is inevitable.
  • The U.K. has proposed that these inspections could be conducted at dedicated clearance centers away from the border, rather than along the 310-mile frontier itself. It will be up to the customs authorities to decide where they want to conduct the checks.
  • Other customs processing could take place either at the location where the goods originate, or their final destination.
  • GPS technology could be used to monitor goods as they cross the border, according to a report from RTE.
  • Johnson has proposed to align Northern Ireland’s rules on agri-food with those of the EU, to avoid difficulties with farm products on the island of Ireland. EU officials say this does not go far enough as most goods will not be covered by such rules
  • It is not clear whether these proposals will form part of Johnson’s final blueprint, which he will present to the European Commission later this week.
  • Some of these details were contained in a U.K. technical discussion document -- known as a “non-paper.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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