EU diplomatic sources told The Daily Telegraph that Brussels officials delivered a detailed and forensic rebuttal, and said none of the UK customs options will work – none of them.
The revelation came after Britain’s lead negotiator Olly Robbins met with senior EU officials, and has raised doubts about hopes for the future deal with Europe.
A UK Government spokesman said Britain is continuing an intensive work programme to engage all the scenarios set out in December’s Joint Report, which was agreed by Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
It included three options for the Irish border, with Britain backing a close economic relationship that makes customs checks unnecessary or implements technological solutions that would make them near-frictionless.
But in February, the EU published a version which only included the third backstop option, which effectively draws a customs border down the Irish sea.
Mrs May said it was a scenario no British Prime Minister could ever agree.
She is facing pressure ahead of a vote in the Commons next week on keeping the UK in the European Customs Union. The same issue was defeated in the Lords.
Mrs May could have to keep Britain in the customs union to avoid a hard border with Ireland.
According to the Telegraph, Mrs May’s suggestion of a customs partnership, where duties destined for the EU were collected on its behalf, was thrown out because it was too expensive, put too much responsibility on businesses and couldn’t be implemented outside of the EU’s mechanisms.
Belfast A city still divided two decades after the Good Friday Agreement
The Brexit war cabinet is expected to meet more frequently to come up with new solutions before the June European Council meeting.
Former Treasury permanent secretary Lord Macpherson tweeted EU’s position on Irish border so predictable. UK sold pass by conceding ‘backstop’ in December, inviting EU to hold us to it.
Britain’s former ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, has also warned that UK hopes of finding a technological solution to the Irish border issue are being regarded as a fantasy island unicorn model by other European capitals.
He told those at the Policy Exchange think-tank in London The Brits are focused above all on Option B – the technological solution. That, candidly, from everything I’ve heard from various places is still viewed as a bit of a fantasy island unicorn model.
The Irish and Brussels in particular – but I think backed, as far as I can see, by Berlin and Paris – have said the only solution to this is the so-called backstop Option C, which is what the Commission put in print and got the toxic reaction both from the DUP and the Prime Minister.
1,000 mile Nordic border won’t answer Ireland question
A Government spokesman said We have been clear that we will protect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.
That commitment was set out in December’s Joint Report which also includes our guarantee of avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
As the PM’s letter to Donald Tusk said, we have made our position on aspects of the draft Commission Protocol clear.
We have agreed that the areas covered in the draft must reflect those that meet our shared commitments.
And we are continuing an intensive work programme to engage on all the scenarios set out in the Joint Report.
News Source SkyNews