EU gives Britain a June deadline to make progress on Northern Ireland

PUBLISHED: 13:03 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 01 May 2018

Michel Barnier during a press conference at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Michel Barnier during a press conference at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Britain and the EU need to reach agreement on the Northern Ireland border issue by June, Michel Barnier today warned.

Many of the operational details have yet to be agreed and the vexed question of the UK’s only land border with an EU state after Brexit is at the centre of intensive work by officials at present.

Mr Barnier said: “We need to agree rapidly by June on the scope of all-island customs and regulations, the safety and controls that we need to respect the single market.”

He said the June meeting of European leaders in Brussels would be a “stepping stone” for the final summit in October, which is the deadline for reaching an agreement on withdrawal.

A joint report on the UK’s withdrawal agreed in December by Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker included both British proposals, along with a third “backstop” option which would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.

But a version published by the EU in February and agreed by the EU27 last month contained only the “backstop”, effectively drawing a customs border down the Irish Sea, which a furious Mrs May said “no British prime minister could ever agree”.

Mr Barnier visited the Irish border town of Dundalk, Co Louth, for a conference on Monday.

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Find out more

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue


Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are keeping up the pressure on politicians as Brexit rumbles on. Here is a list of the events organised across the UK in the coming weeks.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy