One of the biggest sticking points in the dispute over the Brexit is the so-called backstop – with it, border controls at the Irish-Northern Irish border should be avoided. But London rejects the backstop – and now wants to suggest an alternative.
The British government is reported to be proposing to the EU this week to submit proposals for physical checks off the Irish-Northern Ireland border. This is to make the controversial guarantee clause for an open border between the British part of Northern Ireland and the EU member Ireland in the Brexit Treaty superfluous.
According to the Irish radio station RTÉ, London's plans provide for dutiable goods registered in special control centers a few kilometers beyond the border and tracked by GPS until they arrive on the other side. However, observers believe that the proposals are inadequate because they would not prevent border controls but would only shift them.
There are currently no controls between the two parts of Ireland. This is to remain so after the will of Dublin and Brussels, even after the Brexit, because otherwise a resurgence of the Northern Ireland conflict is feared. In the decades-long civil war were predominantly Catholic advocates of an association of Ireland and predominantly Protestant Britain loyalists. Often frontier facilities were the target of attacks by paramilitary units.
The backstop provides that Britain will continue to apply the common EU external tariffs and single market rules until another solution is found. Physical checks would continue to be superfluous. However, many Brexit supporters vehemently reject this because London would then be unable to conclude free-trade agreements with third countries such as the USA. For many, however, this is one of the main reasons for the EU exit.