A new proposal to end the Irish border problem has been tabled by David Davis and crucially agreed to by key members of the cabinet.
The Secretary for Exiting the EU has drawn up plans that will see both businesses and people trade and move freely between the two countries; in a move which has been cautiously welcomed by key players in the debate.
The blueprint would mean the province operating under both European and British regulations.
The ‘special economic zone’ could also see a ten mile-wide buffer zone introduced along the length of Northern Ireland’s 310-mile border with the Republic.
According to The Sun: ”Dubbed a ‘special economic zone’, it will be for local traders such as dairy farmers – who make up 90 per cent of the cross border traffic – and share the same trade rules as south of the border.
“The two plans will together eradicate the need for any border check points, which is a major EU demand.”
EU stumbling block?
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said that neither of the options for Northern Ireland being discussed by Mrs May’s Cabinet is ‘operational or acceptable’.
In a private meeting with members of the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, Mr Barnier said: ‘The British have been moving forward with several ideas. ‘They have two proposals which are being debated with British ministers. Neither of those proposals are operational or acceptable to us.’
The customs partnership and Max Fac proposals had previously been dismissed as unworkable in anonymous briefings by EU officials. Mr Barnier’s comments, filmed in a documentary for Vice News, are the clearest public statement so far of Brussels’s rejection of both schemes.
Responding to the chief negotiator, Italian MEP Roberto Gualtieri said: ‘Indeed, I agree with you that the two options on customs are totally unworkable.’