Ireland’s finance minister warned that the country’s government remains “highly skeptical” about proposals advocated by Britain’s prime minister to avoid the need for infrastructure on the U.K.’s border with Ireland after Brexit.
U.K. premier Boris Johnson had visited Dublin Monday for talks with his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, and insisted that trusted trader schemes and electronic pre-clearances of goods were areas in which there was “a lot that can be done” to resolve a problem that bedevilled his predecessor Theresa May: how to reconcile an open border between the Republic of Ireland and the U.K., while allowing Britain to strike independent trade deals in the future.
But Varadkar’s finance minister Paschal Donohoe, speaking to CNBC at Ireland’s U.K. embassy after a day of investor meetings in the City of London, argued that the British leader’s suggestions do not respond to the “unique needs of the Irish border,” and that was why the Irish government has “stood so firmly behind the principle of regulatory alignment, and the backstop.”
The so-called “Irish backstop” forms an element of Theresa May’s negotiated exit deal with Brussels, and is designed to protect the continued openness of the border between the Republic of Ireland in the south and the separate nation, Northern Ireland, that forms part of the United Kingdom, in case further talks between the U.K. and EU do not find a long-term, operable resolution to the issue.
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