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EU's Tusk to fly to Dublin on Friday as Brexit deadline nears

30 November 2017, 02:00 | Myrtle Vega

EU's Tusk to fly to Dublin on Friday as Brexit deadline nears

EU's Tusk to fly to Dublin on Friday as Brexit deadline nears

Britain's Times newspaper, without citing a source, said Britain had this week proposed to devolve more powers to the government of its province of Northern Ireland so that it could ensure regulations there did not diverge from European Union rules holding south of the border across the island. But Ireland is insisting on a written commitment that goes further, and makes sure regulations on each side of the border won't diverge significantly after Brexit, one of the officials said.

Should there be a referendum on Northern Ireland staying in the Customs Union?

"And if that is the case then, of course, there may be a cost for us to be part of that".

"We are not about convergence here, we are about co-operation", said the North Antrim MP.

"If the United Kingdom has clearly said no to a single market and customs union, it is clearly incumbent on the British Government to articulate a way forward that enables us to have an invisible, seamless border which they have said they want", he said.

Britain is close to clinching a deal with the European Union over the Northern Ireland border, a step that would pave the way for Brussels to offer a two-year Brexit transition deal as early as January, The Times newspaper reported on Thursday. That there will be no so-called "hard border" with regulatory checks on goods and people passing between the two countries.

Mr Paisley is one of 10 DUP pro-Brexit MPs who are propping up the Government on key votes.

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Image caption Ian Paisley said matching "red tape" was not the way ahead.

Some sources have urged caution about the Times report, which implies the devolution of extra powers to a Northern Ireland executive that now does not exist.

He said a referendum would be the only way to "solve this democratically" and he had been "rubbished on Twitter" by the DUP when he initially suggested the Irish border would present an issue.

Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels Charles Tannock said voters in the province should be given a say on whether or not to remain in the EU customs union.

A senior European official has said Ireland remains the most hard of the three issues, but said there were indications a possible breakthrough was near. If that representation of the border were correct, it would mean Longford would be in Northern Ireland.

"That's why we have focused on a number of different issues on the way in which the trade approaches work and we want a bold and ambitious free trade agreement and equally looking at the customs arrangements with either a highly streamlined customs approach or, indeed, a new customs partnership with the EU".

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