The new UK prime minister, Boris Johnson has tried to reassure Ireland as he promises a Brexit without agreement by 31st October.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar that his government was determined to “never” recover from physical checks to the Irish border after Brexit announced Downing Street in a statement.
Boris Johnson said his government would “never put any physical controls or physical infrastructure on the border” between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland, even if they leave the UK European Union without an agreement on 31st October, in a telephone conversation with Mr Varadkar, said Downing Street.
The PM said he was a passionate believer in the power of the Union and that he would work tirelessly to improve lives of people across Scotland. pic.twitter.com/ax5VcKNXxr
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) 29 July 2019
An exit agreement with the EU but without the Irish “safety net”
The new conservative leader also repeated that he wanted an exit agreement with the EU but without the Irish “safety net” (or “backstop”), a solution of last resort intended precisely to avoid the return of a border. Ireland, where the 500 kilometres between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will become the only land border between the EU and the UK.
But Leo Varadkar told him that the backstop was “necessary and the consequence of the decision taken in the UK” to leave the EU, according to a statement from his services.
The Irish leader pointed out that the EU was “united in its refusal to revise the Withdrawal Agreement” reached with the former British Prime Minister Theresa May in November.
“Alternative solutions may replace the backstop in the future (…) but it remains to identify satisfactory solutions and to demonstrate.”
Single customs territory
According to the Withdrawal Agreement, the backstop is supposed to enter into force only after a transition period if no other solution is found by mid-2020 between London and Brussels.
This mechanism consists of creating a “single customs territory”, encompassing the EU and the UK, in which there would be no quota or tariffs for industrial and agricultural goods.
Northern Ireland would also be aligned with a limited number of rules of the European single market, such as health standards for veterinary checks.
This solution, however, is intolerable for some Brexiters and the North Irish ally in parliament, the small party DUP, who believe that this would call into question the integrity of the United Kingdom and its market.