Northern Ireland Could Receive Joint UK, EU Status

Northern Ireland Could Receive Joint UK, EU StatusNorthern Ireland Could Receive Joint UK, EU Status

Northern Ireland could be handed joint UK and EU status with a 10-mile buffer zone along its border with the Republic of Ireland, under plans being considered by the government.

In an attempt to break the deadlock in negotiations with the EU over the Irish border issue, British ministers have revised one of their two options for post-Brexit customs options, Sky News reported.

This would see Northern Ireland operate a dual system of regulatory oversight, allowing it to trade freely with the EU and the rest of the UK.

In addition, the plan also includes the implementation of the trade buffer zone for local traders like dairy farmers along Northern Ireland’s 310-mile border with the Republic of Ireland.

The plan is one of several ideas being discussed and may not be proposed to the EU, a government official told Reuters.

The British prime minister has ordered her Brexit “war cabinet” to work on the government’s two customs options after top ministers failed to decisively back one over the other.

According to the Sun, which first reported the proposals, the new plans for Northern Ireland are a development of the “maximum facilitation”, or “max fac”, model backed by Brexiteers.

In a statement, a Department for Exiting the EU spokesperson said, “We have set out two viable future customs arrangements with the EU and work is ongoing to refine these.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis is said to be behind the plans, as the head of the cabinet working group on the “max fac” model, with his new scheme coming after he was reportedly persuaded to abandon hope of a technology-based solution to the Irish border issue.

Another cabinet working group is working on the proposed “new custom partnership” with the EU, which is said to be favored by Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond, who both backed Remain.

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