Dublin welcomes ‘more clarity’ from UK on Brexit plans

Government says UK paper on customs needs consideration


The Government has said it welcomed indications that the United Kingdom was “providing more clarity on its thinking” on Brexit, adding that this had been called for by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

In a statement, the Government said the UK’s position paper on future EU-UK customs arrangements would be analysed in detail along with Ireland’s EU partners.

According to excerpts of the position paper, the British government will say one option to minimise friction when it leaves the European Union in March 2019 would be to introduce a temporary customs union which should be “time-limited”. It will also seek the right to negotiate other trade deals, a possible sticking point in the talks, according to the document.

“The paper is directed at the EU as a whole and will need careful consideration by the Commission and all 27 EU Member States,” Dublin said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement said the immediate focus for the coming rounds of negotiations remained on advancing the issues that had been identified by both the EU and the UK for the first phase of the Brexit negotiations.

These included citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the “Irish specific” issues.

“In this regard, the Government welcomes the UK’s intention to publish a second position paper, on Northern Ireland and Ireland specific issues, later this week.”

The statement said once sufficient progress had been made on these “Phase 1” issues, negotiations on “Phase 2” issues could commence, “where parallel discussions will take place with the UK on future relationship issues, including customs”.