News Update: UK Backtracks On Full EU Border Checks Amid Coronavirus Crisis

News Update: UK Backtracks On Full EU Border Checks Amid Coronavirus Crisis

June 13, 2020 0 By Lucy Martin

The Financial Times reports Minister has abandoned a plan to introduce full checks after pressure from business.

A government source told the BBC it would take a “pragmatic and flexible approach” due to coronavirus.

The UK had committed to introduce import control on EU goods in January.

But the source said minister recognised the impact the virus was having on businesses, and so pragmatism and flexibility on imports made sense, “to help business adjust to the changes” that were not imminent.

The UK left the European Union at the end of January but is in a transition period until the end of this year.

The government is expected to formally confirm soon it will not ask for an extension to the transition period – despite the coronavirus crisis.

However, there will be an about-turn, in the short term at least, on the checks carried out on imports.

In February, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said import controls we’re “necessary” to keep the country’s borders “safe and secure” and to collect the appropriate taxes.

Now a “temporary light-touch regime” is planned at UK ports such as Dover, regardless of whether a deal is done with the EU or not, according to the Financial Times.

The proposals apply only to rules on imports, which the UK will set. Checks on exports to the EU will be determined by Brussels.

Brexit might have gone quiet, but it has not gone away.  sorting out all the kit and staff to have full import controls in place by January was a big ask before the pandemic

Doing it during one, with business clamoring that they are already being hammered by the virus, was not practical.

So, an about-turn in the short term – and a lighter touch.

Not our old friend the U-tern, sources insist, because this isn’t the long-term plan, but will help with the adjustment businesses will soon have to make.

If you thought you had heard the last of Brexit think again.

The minister Boris Johnson will meet the presidents of the European Commission Council and parliament remotely on Monday, as negotiations step up to attempt to secure a trade deal with the EU.

Negotiating team’s in the UK and the EU have also agreed to “an intensified timetable” for July, with possible discussion in person if public health guidelines enable them during the pandemic, a Downing Street spokesman said.

No 10 said the pace of talks would be scaled up so negotiators will meet in each of the five weeks between 29 June and 27 July.

The New details came after the fourth round of negotiation failed to reach a breakthrough last week.

Speaking in Brussels, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier accused the UK of “backtracking” on the agreed political declaration and said there had been “no significant areas of progress”.

Mr. Barnier’s counterpart in Downing street David Frost said they would have to ” intensity and accelerate” the process if there was to be any chance of an agreement.

Both sides also said the remote meeting had reached their limit and that face-to-face meeting would be needed in order to progress.