Ireland : The final deal on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is set to include a backstop that will apply to the entire United Kingdom, but will have additional measures for Northern Ireland to ensure there is no hard border.
The Irish Times understands a common view is emerging in Dublin, London and Brussels on the contentious issue.
A Northern Ireland-specific backstop – a guarantee to avoid a hard border even if future trade talks fail – would effectively give way to one that would apply across the entirety of Britain for customs only.
However, the withdrawal agreement would also contain additional measures that would apply on the Irish Border. These are understood to include some extra customs rules as well as rules to ensure the North’s regulations remain in alignment with EU standards.
A senior government source said such “add-ons” do not “change the fact that Northern Ireland remains in the customs territory of the UK”.
“You have one backstop – the main element of which is a UK-wide customs union – to be extended with additional measures for Northern Ireland,” the source added.