United Kingdom: Customs Controls Necessary to Avoid Hard Border, EU Official Says
What Happened: The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said Oct. 10 that the European Union would need to conduct customs controls on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom unless London agrees to keep Northern Ireland or the entire United Kingdom within the customs union after Brexit, Euractiv reported.
Why It Matters: Barnier's statements effectively send a message to the United Kingdom that the European Union believes Northern Ireland should remain within the EU customs union to avoid a hard border within Ireland. The United Kingdom has previously rejected the proposal, so Barnier's statement is designed to make the solution more palatable by minimizing border controls through prescreenings and time-saving technological remedies.
Background: The United Kingdom is expected to present a new fallback plan to guarantee that no hard border will be needed between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the event that London and Brussels cannot reach a deal on the terms of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union. Leaders from the 28 EU member states will meet in Brussels on Oct. 17 to discuss Brexit.
- What If Brexit Happened Without an Exit Deal? (July 30, 2018)
- The U.K. Hits a Chaotic Patch on the Road to Brexit (July 18, 2018)
- The Future of Brexit in Six Scenarios (April 20, 2018)