IRELAND has been granted more control is Britain’s Brexit process in a move that is set to outrage Leave voters who have already blasted Leo Varadkar for meddling.
Mr Varadkar was given an enhanced role in how the Brexit agreement will be implemented, Ireland’s RTÉ News reports on the day of the UK’s general election result. Leaked documents the publication claims to have seen state despite the UK Joint Committee managing the deal other nations including Ireland will enjoy enhanced involvement in the implementation of some key issues surrounding it. Other nations with key involvements are Spain and Cyprus.
The European Council and Commission agreed the negotiation structure without even asking Britain, and was put into play after a demand from Dublin.
A draft statement from the European Commission and Council reads that both institutions have agreed that “the Commission will respond positively to any request from Ireland, the Republic of Cyprus or the Kingdom of Spain … in relation to the meetings of the specialised committees”.
This could mean a customs and regulatory border on the Irish Sea and additional protocol in the Republic of Ireland, Britain’s closest EU member state.
The news comes after EU bosses said Boris Johnson – who today scooped a massive 80-seat election majority – was wrong to claim there would be “no forms, no checks, no barriers” for goods travelling from Northern Ireland to Great Britain under his Brexit deal.
Casting fresh doubts over the Prime Minister’s knowledge of the withdrawal agreement, shipments leaving the bloc’s customs union via the province will be expected to be accompanied by “pre-departure declarations”, an EU official said last month.
During a visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Johnson told Conservative party members that he would not enforce checks arising from the proposed customs border in the Irish Sea.
He promised businesses would not face any extra red tape or bureaucracy when exporting to the rest of the United Kingdom.
He told the group: “You will have unfettered access.”
In a video of the meeting, businessman Irwin Armstrong asked the Prime Minister if he could tell his employees “we will not be filling in any customs declarations for goods leaving Northern Ireland to go to GB”.
Mr Johnson replied: “You can. If somebody asks you to do that, tell them to ring up the Prime Minister and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin.”
But European sources have rejected Mr Johnson’s reading of the withdrawal agreement, and insist goods exiting the customs union via Northern Ireland will be subject to the bloc’s usual checks and paperwork.
An EU official said: “Northern Ireland will continue to apply the Union’s Customs Code and remain aligned to those rules of the single market in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.”
They added: “The Union Customs Code includes pre-departure declarations and export formalities.”
The European Commission said the UK would be expected to uphold the bloc’s customs code “in full accordance with international obligations”.
Under the withdrawal agreement, the European Court of Justice will continue to have jurisdiction over matters of “Union law” – including the bloc’s customs code.
The EU demands the so-called “pre-departure declarations” are so customs officials can carry out “risk analysis for security and safety purposes”, and can be carried out using “existing electronic data-processing techniques”.
There are a number of exemptions but an “exit summer declaration has to be lodged” instead, according to Union Customs Code.
Mr Varadkar has meddled in much of the Brexit process, but came out as an unlikely ally of Mr Johnson’s before the election.
Mr Johnson was pictured at a country house in Cheshire with the Fine Gael leader where they held crunch talks on Brexit.