Ireland and EU making no hard border preparations as no-deal Brexit in sight

Ireland and the EU are making no preparations for a hard border despite the prospect of a no-trade deal with the UK looking increasingly likely.
Ireland and EU making no hard border preparations as no-deal Brexit in sight

WELLS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: In this photo illustration a Irish passport is seen with United Kingdom passports on August 2, 2017 in Wells, England. Applications for Irish citizenship from people in the UK with Irish ancestry has doubled since the Brexit vote as people seek to secure an EU identity after Britain leaves the European Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) Photographer: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe
WELLS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: In this photo illustration a Irish passport is seen with United Kingdom passports on August 2, 2017 in Wells, England. Applications for Irish citizenship from people in the UK with Irish ancestry has doubled since the Brexit vote as people seek to secure an EU identity after Britain leaves the European Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) Photographer: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe

Ireland and the EU are making no preparations for a hard border despite the prospect of a no-trade deal with the UK looking increasingly likely.

Helen McEntee, the EU affairs minister, told the Dáil that now is the time for Britain to bring forward acceptable proposals for a trade deal with the EU over Brexit.

She said Ireland has spent years negotiating for no border and preparing for Brexit and that she and the Government expect Britain to fulfill its obligations.

The Government wants businesses to be ready for if Britain does not seek an extension to the Brexit transition period, amid a failure to agree new post-Brexit trade rules.

The Government is also disappointed that Britain is distancing itself from the original political declaration made last October. This set out a future partnership between the bloc and Britain.

Ms McEntee said in the Dáil that preparations for a hard trade deal are “not about admitting defeat” but about “risk management”.

“Ireland still supports the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, but we must be prepared.”

Despite the standoff over trade, Ms McEntee also told Sinn Féin Louth TD, Ruairí Ó Murchú, that there are no plans in place for any border arrangements.

The Government nonetheless will continue to invest in controls for ports and airports for when the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of the year.

The Oireachtas will also be asked to consider a new Brexit omnibus bill to prepare sectors and departments for a possible crash-out trade scenario.

Earlier, Ms McEntee told RTÉ that as discussions continue on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration, that there is a level of frustration in the EU about the position being taken by Britain.

She warned that Britain doesn’t “seem to want to agree or fulfil what they have committed to and there is a level of frustration that is clearly seen in commentary from” lead EU negotiator, Michel Barnier.

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