2/28/2018, 12:50 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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EU's Brexit draft: N. Ireland to remain in customs union

The United Kingdom has to allow Northern Ireland to remain inside the European Union's customs union and under the authority of the European Court of Justice following the country's departure from the bloc, according to the first legal draft of the Brexit withdrawal agreement released by the EU on Wednesday. However, EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that the plan is still a draft which will be officially put forward to the UK once talks with the EU27 and the European Parliament have concluded.

The 120-page document urges London to preserve a soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by maintaining a "common regulatory area" across the island. The proposed regime would be different from the British system for customs, goods, agriculture, environment, VAT, state aid and energy market rules, despite UK's Prime Minister Theresa May promising earlier to keep the economic integrity of the UK. Also, the plan calls for a joint EU-UK customs control for goods coming from across the Irish Sea.

"The common regulatory area shall constitute an area without internal borders in which the free movement of goods is ensured and North-South cooperation protected," according to a version of the document obtained by the Financial Times. However, Barnier claimed that the Irish deal will be applied after the conclusion of the transition period if other alternatives fail. Meanwhile, the draft text does not mention the possibility of a Brexit transition period beyond December 2020, which was requested by the British side.

Breaking the News / FH