Theresa May proposes "review" of backstop in discussion with Leo Varadkar over Irish border
Negotiations inch forward.
A statement from the Department of the Taoiseach revealed that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had spoken with British Prime Minister Theresa May over the phone about the Irish border on Monday morning.
According to the statement, both leaders agreed that there was a need to avoid a hard border and commit to a "legally operable backstop" — that is to say, economic and regulatory circumstances that would allow a soft border continue, even in the event that no deal is reached between the UK and the EU.
May further proposed that such a backstop could be reviewed, which the Taoiseach said he was open to, but stipulated that the backstop could not be ended unilaterally. This means that the UK would not be permitted to change their regulations, thus necessitating a hard border, without Ireland's approval.
Varadkar also reminded the Prime Minister of her previous pledge that a backstop would be honoured "unless and until" a proper agreement is struck with the EU.
You can read the full statement below.
An Taoiseach spoke to the Prime Minister this morning. She sought the call in order to update the Taoiseach on the current state of the Brexit negotiations. Both leaders emphasised their commitment to avoiding a hard border and the need for a legally operable backstop. pic.twitter.com/vgxgsUqKDP
— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) November 5, 2018
As it stands, no trade deal nor backstop has been agreed — meaning that Ireland could eventually see a hard border between north and south, complete with customs checks.
This can only be avoided if Northern Ireland will remain in the customs union/single market — a condition that the DUP will not accept unless the rest of the UK does the same.