DONALD Tusk has signalled the European Union has devised a secret proposal which will solve the Northern Ireland border issue after Brexit, insisting people should “trust him” the plan will appease both Britain and the EU.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Mr Tusk said it would be up to Britain to iron out the finer points, but suggested an agreement on the border could be much closer than previously thought.
He said he had “some good news for Prime Minister May” and announced he had recommended to European leaders they accept the proposed transition terms drafted earlier this week.
The deal includes protection for EU citizens’ rights – a major sticking point in previous talks – but no solution on what to do with the Irish border, other than the stipulation that all options would be kept on the table.
This condition, dubbed the ‘December agreement’, included a promise by the UK that “full regulatory alignment” could be on the cards if no other way to avoid a hard border could be reached.
“Still we need more time to clarify, it is the British obligation to clarify the logistic and legal details, but today I can say our interpretation of the so-called December agreement is almost identical compared to the British position.
“I am absolutely sure that we will finally find a proper solution to avoid this question of a hard border.”
“The Irish question remains our highest priority.”
UK and EU negotiators announced earlier this week they had reached an agreement on a “large part” of the transition terms which will effectively keep the UK inside the bloc as a silent partner until December 2020.
Brussels had insisted it would not budge from its transition demands.
However, the UK won a victory on the issue of trade, with the EU conceding Britain would be able to sign and seal international deals.
On citizens rights, however, the UK accepting it will provide the same rights and guarantees to EU citizens who arrived after Brexit day on March 29, 2019, but before the end of the transition