Tusk Warns of Hard Border in Ireland Post-Brexit

By Platforma Obywatelska RP (Wizyta Premiera w Toruniu) [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, warned Britain that its plan to withdraw from the customs union and single market of the European Union on Brexit could imply a return of a “hard border” on Ireland.

In Brussels, while addressing a business conference prior to leaving for lunch in London with Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, the EU summit chair said that a proposal from the European Union to incorporate Northern Ireland within a “common regulatory area” with the European Union was the best option to avoid border friction. However, he said that he would be asking in London if the United Kingdom could propose something better.

Tusk informed the Business Europe event: “Until now, no one has come up with anything wiser than that.

“In a few hours, I will be asking London whether the UK government has another idea that will be as effective in preventing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

He also confirmed that he is set to distribute some negotiating proposals next week for a future trade relationship with the United Kingdom. That will follow the expected announcement of Theresa May regarding her proposals on Friday.

However, Tusk warned that Theresa May’s “red lines” of withdrawing from the single market and customs union implied that some friction in the trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union would be inevitable.

Tusk said: “There can be no frictionless trade outside of the customs union and the single market. Friction is an inevitable side effect of Brexit, by nature.”