UK Premier to Meet EU Chief Ahead of Brexit Speech

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council is to ask Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) for “a better idea that would be as effective in preventing a hard border” on the “island of Ireland”.

The prime minister rejected the EU’s proposals on Northern Ireland saying they would split the UK in two. But, the European Council President said one of the “possible negative consequences” of the kind of Brexit May wants would be a hard border.

The two are to meet later ahead of a big Brexit speech on Friday by the UK Premier.

May, due to chair a meeting of the cabinet before her talks with Tusk, has already pledged not to accept the draft withdrawal treaty published on Wednesday by the EU.

The UK and the EU both agree on wanting to avoid a return to a physical border with border posts and checks in Northern Ireland.

The UK has suggested new IT systems could be introduced to avoid the need for physical border checks, but has yet to spell out how this work in practice. But, the draft EU treaty also includes the option of a “common regulatory area” after Brexit on the island of Ireland, in effect keeping Northern Ireland in a customs union if no other solution is found.

Both the EU and the Irish government say it is up to the UK to come up with concrete alternatives to what they describe as a “backstop” option, the BBC reported.

Source: Oman News Agency