Theresa May: Technical Border Could Be Option for Ireland

Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has suggested that a technical border could be an option for the island of Ireland following Brexit.

Today, during a grilling in the Commons, the British Prime Minister informed MPs that she had requested officials to consider a report, placed forward by a committee within the European Parliament, on how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, adding that it could offer the basis for a solution.

The said report outlines how the “technologies such as automatic number plate recognition, enhanced driver’s licenses, barcode scanning and the use of smartphone apps can also have a significant impact by reducing paperwork and allowing pre- or on-arrival release, which can reduce or even eliminate the need to stop or undergo checks.” The report further notes that “low-friction” borders exist on that basis between the United States and Canada and Sweden and Norway.

Theresa May stated: “We are looking at the border arrangements in a number of countries around the world. This is something that has been picked up by the European Parliament, and it has been made clear that there are innovative solutions that can deliver exactly what we’re talking about.”

The statement of Theresa May chimes with the view from Brussels, where MEPs proposed that an “invisible” border based on modern technology could offer a solution and that a “1970s-style border… with soldiers” would never become the outcome.

Last week, Brussels released a draft treaty suggesting that Northern Ireland would have to remain within the customs union of the European Union after Brexit – which the Prime Minister has already categorically rejected.