Brussels: NI should have ‘unique’ Brexit solutions

Brexit changes everything
Brexit changes everything

The European Union is to call for “unique solutions” for the Irish border in the wake of Brexit.

It is expected Brussels will today suggest that people should be able to work, go to school and receive health care on either side of the border.

Further details are to be published by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier today.

Brussels is laying responsibility for sorting out arrangements for the Irish border after Brexit solely on the UK government, however.

The latest batch in a series of documents setting out the European Union’s negotiating position are expected to be released on Thursday but do “not put forward solutions” for resolving travel between the north and south of the island of Ireland after 2019.

Instead the papers say the onus to sort out the problem “remains on the UK”, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

“The present paper does not put forward solutions for the Irish border,” the papers state.

“The onus to propose solutions which overcame the challenges created on the island of Ireland by the UK’s withdrawal and its decision to leave the customs union and the internal market remains on the UK.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis has insisted discussions with Brussels on border plans have been “good” but the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said “a lot more substantial work” needs to be done.

The EU paper calls for “unique solutions” and floats the possibility of “specific provisions” being included in the exit agreement to address the fact the peace process was underpinned by common EU law.

Among the draft documents are also demands for European delicacies like Parmesan cheese and Champagne to be given a protected status in British law after Brexit, according to the FT.

Intellectual property rights must not be “undermined by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU”, the papers state.

To make safeguards for geographic food and drink specialities that have protections, such as parma ham, enforceable “specific domestic legislation” may be needed.

Mr Barnier is expected to be quizzed about the contents of the documents at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday afternoon.

According to BBC reports, the EU papers insist that nothing in Britain’s withdrawal deal should affect Ireland’s place in the single market and customs union.

The documents propose allowing people to continue to cross the Irish border to work, study and receive medical treatment, it was reported.

And they are understood to float the idea of specific commitments to be written into the departure deal to protect cross-border co-operation in areas like health, education, transport and fishing.