Alliance Brexit Spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the UK Government needs to reconsider its approach to the border issue in Brexit negotiations after speculation the EU Commission has comprehensively rejected its proposals.
Dr Farry said only a customs union can be the foundation of a solution, adding time was running out.
“This apparent rejection by the EU of the UK Government’s proposals was sadly inevitable,” said Dr Farry.
“They have forced themselves into a trilemma in which it has adopted three positions, only two of which can be achieved at any one time – to avoid a hard border within the island of Ireland, for the UK as whole to leave both the customs union and the single market, and to rule out any special arrangements for Northern Ireland in relation to a customs union and single market. There is no magical way through this.
“As more and more time is being wasted in the pursuit around fanciful solutions, the time for decisions shrinks and the stakes get ever higher. The absolutely crucial transition period remains subject to the agreement on the Withdrawal Agreement, and agreement on how to initiate the joint UK-EU commitments in the Joint Report from December.
“The most sensible way forward is for the UK as a whole to remain within a customs union with the EU and to allow Northern Ireland to remain within the single market. This not only avoids any new hard borders but is also fundamentally in the economic interest of the UK itself, and is advocated by the CBI and other business groups.
“There is already a clear majority within the House of Lords for this approach and almost certainly in the House of Commons. This should give the UK Government the platform to change course.”