Brussels preparing to use technology to keep trade flowing with Ireland if No Deal Brexit happens


Brussels is preparing to deploy technology to keep trade flowing between Ireland and the EU via Britain under a No Deal Brexit.

EU officials will use ‘IT systems’ so goods can continue across the sea from Ireland through the UK and on into France, according to a leaked document.

The paper, which will be presented to EU leaders next week, ramps up No Deal warnings amid EU fears that a Brexiteer will win the keys to No 10. 

It says the fix to keep open the so-called ‘land bridge’ between the Republic and Northern Ireland can be ‘implemented swiftly in the event of No Deal’.

The plan will be leapt on by Brexiteer Tory leadership candidates, who argue technology could be deployed to do away with the Irish backstop.

Brussels has refused to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement, insisting the backstop, which would lock Britain into a customs union with the EU, must remain.

The document urges EU countries to review progress on new border inspection posts to ‘ensure that they are fully functional from the outset’ in case of a No Deal.

It then adds: ‘The Commission maintains regular contacts with the most concerned member states so that a land bridge route between Ireland and the rest of the EU via the UK can be implemented swiftly in the event of No Deal, including support from the necessary IT systems.’

The arrangement will be crucial for Ireland, which transports around 85 per cent of EU exports via the British ‘land bridge’.

The majority of Tory leadership candidates have said they believe they can renegotiate the backstop, with Sajid Javid pledging half a billion pounds towards a technological fix.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has softened his tone recently over technological solutions, entertaining the possibility of ‘drones’ and ‘invisible controls’. But he insists these are not yet ready and that the backstop must remain.

The European Commission paper also warns EU businesses not to expect any more help to cushion the effects of a No Deal and encourages them to slash contracts with UK customers and relocate to the Continent before October 31.

It urges companies to ‘take advantage of the extra time’ between now and October to prepare for No Deal and warns no more contingency measures will be adopted.

Those which are already in place will only ‘mitigate the most serious disruptions of a withdrawal without an agreement’, adding that the ‘impact would be proportionally much greater in the UK’.

The EU has adopted 19 measures to limit short-term disruption after a No Deal Brexit in everything from aircraft landing rights to derivatives trading.

It comes amid growing fears in Brussels that the new prime minister will be a Brexiteer willing to take Britain out without a deal.


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