Brexit: UK suggests ‘temporary customs union’ with EU
The government says it will propose an “innovative and untested approach” to customs checks as part of its Brexit negotiations.
The model, one of two being put forward in a newly-published paper, would mean no customs checks at UK-EU borders.
The UK’s alternative proposal – a more efficient system of border checks – would involve “an increase in administration”, it admits.
A key EU figure said the idea of “invisible borders” was a “fantasy”.
On Twitter, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s negotiator, added that other issues had to be agreed before negotiations on trade could begin – views echoed by the EU’s overall chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
The UK has already said it will leave the customs union – the EU’s tariff-free trading area – after Brexit, and businesses have been calling for clarity on what the replacement system will involve.
The UK’s proposals, detailed in what it calls a “future partnership paper”, also include the possibility of a “temporary customs union” after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 to avoid a “cliff-edge” for business as they adapt to the new arrangements.