Backstop Alternatives: Examining the “We Cannot Trust the Brits” Excuse

Last week, together with two colleagues, Daniel Sarmiento and Sir Jonathan Faull, we published a plan which could avoid a no-deal Brexit. It is to one reaction, attributed in the Press to anonymous Commission sources that I wish to react. And I do not do this solely or even mainly in order to defend the viability of our particular Proposal. I do so because I fear that this same reaction of these anonymous EU officials will meet any proposal for "alternative arrangements" to be put on the table by the UK government.

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An Offer the EU and UK Cannot Refuse

The EU reasonably expects a guarantee that Brexit will not compromise the integrity of its customs and regulatory territory. Hence its insistence on the Backstop. The UK reasonably expects a guarantee that it will not be locked into a permanent Customs (and regulatory) Union with the EU. Hence its rejection of the Backstop. The resulting deadlock is hurling both parties into a No-Deal Brexit. This proposal, which includes features which have never been discussed, will guarantee the integrity and autonomy of the EU’s and UK’s respective customs and regulatory territories, and will require neither a Customs Union between the two nor a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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WTO Option in Practice: How a No-Deal Brexit Would Seriously Damage Key UK Industries

Whilst a no-deal Brexit seemed unrealistic in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s referendum, it seems that now the UK is bracing itself for a Brexit without a withdrawal or transition agreement. What would that mean for the UK’s trade relations with the EU and other countries and how would it affect some of the UK’s key industries?

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