Brussels offers to reduce border controls in Northern Ireland

The European Commission vice-president in charge of overseeing relations with the United Kingdom, Maros Sefcovic, has offered to reduce customs controls in Northern Ireland, he said in an interview to the British newspaper Financial Times (FT).

Sefcovic has claimed that the trade border would be “invisible” to EU institutions if the UK provides real-time data on trade movements.

In this regard, he has indicated that physical checks would only be carried out in the case of “reasonable suspicion of illegal trade, smuggling, illegal drugs, dangerous toys or poisoned food.” Thus, this would mean that controls would be reduced to a “couple of trucks a day”.

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The Brexit chief for the Union has thus compared the demands of both sides, considering that there is no difference between the British request for “no controls” and the EU offer of “minimal controls, carried out invisibly.”

Sefcovic has also expressed hope that the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, is ready to reach a common ground on post-Brexit trade arrangements.

Negotiations between Brussels and London ended in February, but Sefcovic has assured that he is ready to restart talks. “We are ready to work in an open, constructive and intensive way,” he said as he welcomed Truss’ statement this week that he wants a negotiated agreement.

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Truss previously said this week that she was willing to negotiate with EU leaders, but only if the EU gave in to all British demands.

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