Eurocrats are preparing a hi-tech “monitoring” system to police the Prime Minister’s handling of the Northern Ireland border solution. Internal EU documents reveal European capitals are worried that Mr Johnson will attempt to ignore the terms of his Withdrawal Agreement with the bloc. Under the terms of his deal, Northern Ireland will have to follow the EU’s customs rules and many of its single market regulations.
Brussels even has the right to send officials to ports and order their British counterparts to carry out extra customs checks.
The bloc expects the Northern Ireland border arrangements to be in place fully by the end of the Brexit transition period, according to an EU “working paper”.
The document, seen by Express.co.uk, states: “The Protocol will apply as of the end of the transition period (31/12/2020).”
It states the Government must “apply the Union’s Customs Code, as well as checks and controls on all goods coming from third countries as well as from Great Britain” in Northern Ireland.
The province will also “remain aligned to relevant EU rules” for customs, animal health and product standards, state aid and tax.
New “IT systems and databases” will be created to keep track of goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, according to the document.
Brussels has proposed setting up a “special committee” to ensure that Mr Johnson implements the necessary checks – even before trade talks have concluded.
The bloc will make any future trade deal with Britain conditional on controls being put in place by the Government, according to an EU source.
Eurocrats will insist the UK will not be allowed to stall the process in order to see how trade negotiations with Brussels pan out.
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Senior diplomats will finalise large chunks of Michel Barnier’s negotiating guidelines today in a meeting in Brussels.
They are expected to reach agreements on fisheries and services chapters. But, their row over the so-called “level-playing field” is set to continue into next week.