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The EU Fallback Brexit Plan holds Northern Ireland in the Customs Union



Following a draft European Commission-proposed Brexit treaty, Britain must commit to allowing Northern Ireland to remain in the EU Customs Union under the supervision of the European Court of Justice.

The release of the 1

20-page bill on Wednesday marks a high-risk moment for the Brexit talks and explains what the negotiations on Britain's exit from the Union are about.

Britain is particularly alarmed by a Falback plan to avoid a hard Irish border if no other solutions can be negotiated between Britain and Brussels. The fallback plan would keep the Irish north and south after Brexit in a "common regulatory area".

This would be different from the UK Customs, Commodity, Agriculture, Environment, Value Added Tax, State Aid and Energy Market legislation – despite the commitment of the Theresa May Government to maintain the economic integrity of the United Kingdom.

Michel Barnier, the EU's negotiator, sees in the Ireland Protocol a divorce agreement with the United Kingdom calling for "full alignment" between North and South with Britain in December to avoid a border.

"Nothing will be a surprise here," Barnier said Wednesday's release, adding that this translated the joint commitments of the EU and the UK into legal text.

The text says that "the common regulatory area constitutes an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods is ensured and North-South cooperation is protected".

In politically firing regulations, which must provoke fierce opposition in both Westminster and Belfast, the fallback option provides for joint customs controls between the EU and the UK on goods reaching from mainland Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

EU institutions are authorized to enforce the agreement in Northern Ireland after Brexit. "In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Union has jurisdiction," reads the text.

British officials say that Ms. May will give a "robust" response to the Irish "Protocol" and assure the Democratic Union Party, which provides crucial parliamentary support to her minority government, that she will reject conditions that compromise the integrity of the United States Undermine the Kingdom. 19659004] "This is a draft of an EU negotiating position and not a definitive, binding text," said a high-level government source. "The EU should be absolutely clear that the Prime Minister will not sign anything that jeopardizes the constitutional integrity of the UK or its common market." The UK also rejects the ECJ becoming "the last arbitrator" of the withdrawal agreement.

Ireland has welcomed the draft and is convinced that special border regulations are needed to protect the 1998 Good Friday Peace Pact, which ended decades of religious violence.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, said it was "out of order" for Brexiters in Britain or Northern Ireland to "just say no" now.

"It is up to them, if they can not accept the backstop, then they have to explain exactly how option A or B would work," he said on Irish radio on Wednesday, referring to the alternative models in which the The EU and the UK will work

The proposal provides for the possibility for Great Britain to propose such alternatives, either through the entire EU-UK trade agreement or through specific measures for Northern Ireland.

"Our preferred option together with The British Government is Option A, which means we have a very close new relationship between the UK and the EU that is so tight that it does not need a border," Varadkar said , Ireland has tried to avoid any triumphalism by giving a cautious response to the draft text.

But the EU officials expect that the emergency scenario will still be needed in each exit agreement, as a full alternative model could not be completed and implemented before the Brexit day.

Under the fallback provisions, Northern Ireland would automatically follow EU internal market rules on goods, agricultural standards and energy regulation, which will ultimately be enforced by the ECJ. The exact areas of "Alignment" are listed in an appendix listing hundreds of EU laws.

Jeffrey Donaldson, a senior DUP representative, said the EU proposal "is fundamentally against the agreement reached in December". "If the EU or Dublin believes that the British government will register at a border in the Irish Sea, they will be deceived," he added.

But Mr. Barnier has warned Downing Street that a relapse to the terms agreed in December would have consequences for talks on future relationships and a transitional agreement that Ms. May will agree on in a summit meeting in less than four weeks.

The 168 clauses in the Commission's legal text mainly cover areas provisionally agreed with the United Kingdom in December, such as a financial regulation of at least 40 to 45 billion euro, special civil rights for 4 million citizens of the EU and the United Kingdom and the steps to avoid a border in Ireland.

In other areas where negotiations are incomplete or unconstitutional – such as governance, the treatment of goods and nuclear issues – the Commission has largely set out its starting point for discussions.

Further provisions in the Draft Assignment Agreement bind the United Kingdom to EU judicial decisions in the 2030s and beyond; Question whether Gibraltar would be covered by a transitional agreement; and shorten the ability of UK regulators to admit EU-compliant products such as car parts.

No explicit clause has been included to allow a transitional period beyond December 2020, an informal request by British negotiators


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