LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled what he said would be his final offer to the European Union for an amended Brexit deal, warning that if the proposals are not accepted Britain will leave the bloc at the end of the month without a divorce deal.
Below are the key points from the offer:
“Our proposed compromise removes the so-called ‘backstop’ in the previous Withdrawal Agreement,” Johnson said.
Britain wants a future relationship with the EU based on a free-trade agreement, allowing the UK to take control of its own regulatory affairs and trade, he said, not one in which the UK is closely integrated with EU customs arrangements and aligned with EU law in many areas.
“In these circumstance the proposed ‘backstop’ is a bridge to nowhere and a new way forward must be found,” he said.
The 500-km (300-mile) land border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland has become the sticking point in efforts to agree on the terms of an orderly British exit from the European Union.
Ireland says an invisible border is a key national interest as any checks or infrastructure on the frontier could undermine Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal, known as the Good Friday Agreement.
The government says its new proposals are compatible with the agreement.
“Our proposal is centered on our commitment to find solutions which are compatible with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. This framework is the fundamental basis for governance in Northern Ireland and protecting it is the highest priority for all.”
ALL-IRELAND REGULATORY ZONE
“It provides for the potential creation of an all-island regulatory zone on the island of Ireland, covering all goods and agrifood.”
“This zone would eliminate all regulatory checks for trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland by ensuring that good regulations in Northern Ireland are the same as those in the rest of the EU.”
“This regulatory zone must depend on the consent of those affected by it. This is essential to the acceptability of arrangements under which part of the UK accepts the rules of a different political entity.”
The Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly should have the opportunity to endorse the arrangements during the transition period and every four years afterwards.
After the end of the transition Brexit period, Northern Ireland will be fully part of the UK customs territory, not the EU Customs Union.
The UK will leave the EU customs union at the end of the transition period.
“We must do so whole and entire. Control of trade policy is fundamental to out future vision.”
After the transition period, which lasts until the end of 2020, Northern Ireland would align with EU rules on agri-food goods and manufactured goods.
Agri-food goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain would do so via a border inspection post or designated point of entry and would be subject to identity and documentary checks and physical examination by UK authorities as required by EU rules.
As a result, regulatory checks and controls would not be needed when goods enter Ireland from Northern Ireland.
Britain said it would not apply corresponding checks or controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from Ireland.
After the transition period, the UK and EU will operate separate customs territories so the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will be a customs border.
Britain, however, said customs checks and controls will not need to take place at, or even near, that border.
All goods movements between Northern Ireland and Ireland will be notified using a declaration.
Physical checks on a very small proportion of movements could take place at traders’ premises or designated locations anywhere in Ireland or Northern Ireland.
The arrangements will be supported by measures such as a trusted-trader scheme, simplified customs procedures and temporary admissions, Britain said.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison