Brexit talks

Knockback for May as Barnier rejects customs plan

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier: EU  will not delegate the application of its customs policy


Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans yesterday received a fresh knockback from EU negotiator Michel Barnier who rejected key elements of the package.

Mr Barnier said rejected a British offer to collect customs duties for the EU as part of  a plan to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Speaking at a news conference after three days of talks with new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Mr Barnier said: “The EU  will not delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures.”

Mrs May is being urged to join a customs union with the EU, although that would prevent Britain agreeing trade deals with other countries.

The Prime Minister is to hold Brexit talks with the Austrian chancellor today before heading off on her summer holiday to Italy and Switzerland.

Her meeting is one of a number by ministers over the summer to promote the Chequers white paper. It proposes close ties in some areas, such as the trade in goods, but will end free movement of people and the jurisdiction of the European Court, and allow the UK to strike trade deals with other nations.


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