Ireland’s RTE News said Tuesday that the EU may accept to expand its inclusion of the British territory in the customs union for the two-year transition period after Brexit as a bid to end a current deadlock in negotiations with Britain to reach a broad agreement on future ties.
British Prime Minister Theresa May have resisted EU’s so-called backstop plan for including Northern Ireland in the customs union until a permanent solution for trade is agreed after Brexit. May says that solution will effectively separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. She had instead urged the EU to include the entire UK in the customs union in the transition period, which will start as of March 29, 2019, and even beyond that until the two sides could reach a permanent agreement on future trade relations.
Sources said the mechanism for inclusion of the entire UK in the EU’s customs union will be agreed in post-Brexit negotiations. They said, however, that the EU will put in place some stricter terms than what has been anticipated by May’s government.
The report would mean that Britain and the EU have managed to overcome their main difference in talks on a Brexit deal. May had earlier told the British parliament that 95 percent of the terms of one such deal had been settled with the EU.
The RTE report caused the British pound to rise 0.6 percent against the American dollar as it was traded from below $1.30 to as high as $1.3044. The sterling also rose against the euro to as much as 87.995 pence before it eased back to 88.1 pence.