PM’s Brexit deal ‘positive but problematic’, says Brussels

Mr Johnson said his plan was 'fair and reasonable'

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The president of the European Commission has said there were both “positive advances” and “problematic points” in Boris Johnson’s letter outlining new Brexit proposals.

The Prime Minister today wrote to Jean-Claude Juncker putting forward his “fair and reasonable compromise” regarding the Northern Ireland border when Britain leaves the EU.

The seven page plan seeks to scrap the backstop, a major sticking point in Theresa May’s failed withdrawal agreement, in order to strike a new deal with Brussels.

Instead, it would see Northern Ireland leave the customs union but effectively remain tied to EU single market rules on goods.

A key point was the introduction of an “all-island regulatory zone” to eliminate regulatory trade checks between the North and South, which Mr Juncker welcomed.

However, following a telephone conversation between Mr Johnson and Mr Juncker, a statement released by the Commission said the governance of the backstop remained a “problematic point”.

On the proposed customs rules, it said they still needed a “legally operational solution” to ensure there was no return of a hard border after Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn slated the deal and said: “It's worse than Theresa May's deal. I can't see it getting the support that he thinks it will get.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "Boris only wants to change one part of the Withdrawal Agreement. Despite his words there is no guarantee that we will leave the customs union, and any future trade deal needs good faith from the EU side.

“It's like putting your head in a crocodile's mouth and hoping for the best.”

However, the DUP welcomed the plans, saying they were “entirely consistent with the spirit and principles of the Belfast Agreement” and demonstrated “commitment to working with our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland”.

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