Coming away from his one on one meeting with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated that a new proposal on the future customs relationship between the European Union and the UK is to be expect the next few weeks.

Mr Varadkar told reporters – “I said to the prime minister that any move that helped to align all of the EU and the UK in terms of customs into the future would be beneficial.
“It would help solve some of the problems related to the border but not all of them. It would certainly help us continue to trade between Britain and Ireland much as we do now.”

He went on to say that “The prime minister gave me an insight into some new thinking the UK government as in relation to customs. Obviously, we’ll see how that develops. We haven’t been able to get any detail on that yet, but certainly any move on customs that brings the UK closer to the EU is to be welcomed.

“But I very much emphasised that resolving the issue of avoiding a hard border requires more than just customs.

“But if the UK is going to make a move in that space it’s certainly something we’re willing to examine.”

So are we looking at a definitive deal with the UK and Northern Ireland staying in the Customs Union? It certainly looks that way with the Brexit hardliners starting to see the unmistakable fact that it is economically and political impossible to leave the Europe zone completely without repercussions to the Good Friday Agreement, the British economy and the stability of the government itself.

As annoying as it seems, the Labour Party under Corbyn is sitting in the wings waiting for the government to implode so it can in like some kind of a socialist knight in shinning armour and ‘save’Britain by keeping it in the single market and customs union.

So it now seems that the civil war in the Tory party is fizzling out with May pushing an motion that will see Britain considering a nationwide backstop plan that would apply the bloc’s external tariffs beyond December 2020. It’s becoming more likely that by 2020, a new government will be in place that will probably cement the agreement and thus stop Britain from exiting Europe completely and preventing any disruption to the Irish border.

Whatever the outcome, Brexit in its original hardliner form, spurned on by the likes of Farage and Johnston is now dead and the future seems to be an EU in a strong position while Westminster keeps its head down for at least ten years, contemplating a return to full membership in then early 2030s.

So all in all, what a sheer waste of energy, money and time it all has been. If the UK and Northern Ireland is to stay in the customs union, it seems that all this was for nothing in that had the British government pushed for membership of the customs union and single market following the result of the referendum, it probably would have a strong and stable leadership and less of the antagonism and division that the nation finds itself in now.

Ken Sweeney
Committed to idea of supporting aspiring writers and journalists. Serial podcaster.

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    1. At present, as may be noticed, I am keeping very ‘quiet’. The present state of so-called negotiations is abysmally failing. Since Leo Varadkar said what you are quoting, the negotiating team in Brussels has expressed the view of the 27 member states saying that what the UK appears to be proposing to put on the table is not acceptable. Yet another impasse is there in the making.
      David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, has exacerbated tension by dismissing the majority vote to reject the Withdrawal Bill in the Scottish Parliament, supported by all parties except the Tories, of course. To add insult to injury, he referred to the Scots position as ‘bickering’. Westminster is provoking a new referendum and with a new SNP deputy leader about to be elected, two of the three candidates being committed to an early new referendum, that tension will mount.
      Then eyes have been taken off Gibraltar when nothing whatsoever has been resolved. Follow through with the recent reports that the Falklands and other dependencies will be left in the lurch and it all crumbles. The Taoiseach spoke days ago, which in Brexit terms is immediately history, and may already be wrong. When the shit hits the fan in June we shall see.
      Behind that, the store of revelations about pre-referendum campaigning that used data from organisations now shown to have been on the ‘dark side’ of legitimacy and also clearly those who are looking getting closer to finding out sources of funding some of the campaigns, the dirt is amassing. The credibility of the UK is crumbling, which is actually reflected in this Youtube clip of a Channel 4 news item: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBtuwSixYoE. Even Northern Ireland is not as steadfastly loyal as implied which, in reality feeds a useful weapon into Varadkar’s negotiating hand.
      We shall see. However, I think what you are reporting has quickly moved on Ken. I am watching with both critical curiosity and a good measure of despair. Very soon we shall see, but will no doubt still be none the wiser.

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