Britain would stay in an EU-wide customs regime until the technology exists to ensure no hard border in Ireland
Oliver Wright, Policy Editor
October 5 2018, 12:00pm
North would diverge and follow single market regulations
European Union Brexit negotiators have told national diplomats in Brussels that a deal to solve the Irish border issue is now “very close”.
After talks yesterday between Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, sources in the commission told Reuters that both sides were closing in on an agreement.
The basis of a deal was understood to centre around proposals, revealed by The Times on Tuesday, that are due to be formally tabled by the British side imminently. Under the plan the whole of the UK would remain within an EU-wide single customs regime until the technology exists to ensure no hard border in Ireland.
Northern Ireland would diverge from Britain and follow single market regulations that cover the sale of goods crossing the border. The government is insisting that this would have to be agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, if and when it is reinstated.
Sterling rose to a ten-week high of 88.19 pence against the euro on news of the deal being close. The pound also hit a five-day high against the US dollar of $1.3053.