The European Union wants the United Kingdom to outline the steps it will take to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
This is what the European negotiators asked when resuming talks about the implementation of the Brexit agreement. Those conversations were held by video link because of the corona crisis.
The request indicates that one of the main topics of the Brexit agreement has not yet been completed, while the transition period ends at the end of this year. Before the end of the year, the British and the EU also have to conclude a new trade agreement. The pressure on British Prime Minister Johnson to extend the transition period is therefore increasing. Until now, Johnson has always said that an extension is out of the question.
As part of the Brexit agreement with the EU, Johnson has pledged to create a special zone around Ireland and Northern Ireland so that there are no border controls on the island. That does mean that there will have to be some form of controls between Britain and Northern Ireland, but Johnson has promised the Northern Irish that they won’t. So far, the British government has insisted that smart measures be taken that make those controls unnecessary.
However, the EU now wants clarity. “It is imperative that a detailed timetable be prepared quickly and that measures be taken to allow controls,” the EU said in a statement.