This Writer cannot imagine what will be in the EU position paper on the Irish border question – but I doubt there will be any “magical” solutions in it.
Nor are there likely to be any premature trade negotiations.
I wonder what David Davis and his ill-prepared cronies think they are doing.
Are they deliberately trying to provoke their EU counterparts?
The European Union has accused the UK of “magical thinking” over plans to create an invisible border in Ireland after Brexit, amid fading hopes of an early divorce deal this autumn.
The response came as both sides prepared for the next round of negotiations in Brussels next week, with the EU issuing a stern rebuke against using the peace process as a bargaining chip.
Last week the UK outlined ideas for “as frictionless and seamless a border as possible”, with waivers for people and goods crossing the 310-mile long boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Both sides want to avoid a hard border that risks reigniting attacks on checkpoints, which were a feature of the Troubles.
But EU diplomats think the British are trying to push responsibility for solving the Irish issue back on to them.
The UK paper on Ireland outlined two options to virtually eliminate checks on goods crossing the border: the first would rely on technology to eliminate physical border checks; the second would see the UK take responsibility for monitoring the border and even collecting customs duties for the EU.
Talk of technical fixes is seen as premature in Brussels. But it is the second proposal that has most alarmed EU diplomats, who think the UK already has problems in preventing customs fraudsters.
One EU diplomat told the Guardian that allowing the UK to manage the EU’s external frontier would be very difficult to accept. The British paper on the Irish border calls for “flexible and imaginative solutions” eight times, a repeated phrase that has left EU diplomats rolling their eyes.