Explainer: Ireland's Brexit backstop - and why it matters

Lloyd Doyle
September 19, 2018

"But this particular compromise doesn't work because it involves a border in the Irish Sea, no matter how invisible it might be, and we have always been clear that we will not allow that to happen". Having dismissed technology as magical thinking for the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland it is suddenly okay for the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

"What I'm not going to do is to say that I would refuse to entertain any further proposals that the EU comes up with but they've got to be respecting the equities that we've set out", he told correspondents from European newspapers including Germany's Die Welt, France's Le Monde and the Irish Times.

Mrs May will repeat that any solution to the Irish border situation must respect the cohesion of the UK's four parts and do nothing to undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

The Chequers blueprint - a "common rulebook" for trade in goods and "business-friendly facilitated customs arrangement" - is the only way to resolve the thorny issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, she said.

Yes. May and her vital allies in a pro-British Belfast party reject any border between two parts of the UK.

Setting out Britain's objectives, Mr Raab made clear the United Kingdom was looking for further movement from the European Union on the Irish border.

In his pre-summit letter to European Union leaders, Tusk said the meeting will "reconfirm the need for a legally operational backstop on Ireland, so as to be sure that there will be no hard border in the future".


Mrs May is expected to use the Salzburg summit to hold formal face-to-face talks with Belgian premier Charles Michel on Wednesday and Ireland's Leo Varadkar and Mr Tusk on Thursday.

Mr Barnier said he was working on a plan to "de-dramatise" the controls that would be necessary in the event of the backstop coming into play. There would be no border as such between the province and the mainland but checks, often by British officials, at factories, markets, on ships and in ports, on the status of goods moving between the two.

But if Mr Barnier is right about October, then the next four weeks will determine Britain's future for a generation and tonight's cordon bleu dinner will be the most important of Mrs May's life.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, Barnier said: 'It is then we shall see whether agreement we are hoping for is in our grasp.

That would give negotiators a month to nail down a final treaty and accompanying political declaration of intent on a future trade deal at a special Brexit summit in mid-November.

With just over six months before Britain leaves the European Union, time is pressing and May is keen to secure some kind of deal before the end of the year and ease concerns over a disorderly exit, which could plunge the economy into a downturn.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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