By Nigel Morris, iNews: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/politics/eu-citizens-will-able-move-freely-across-irish-border-brexit/
European Union nationals will still be able to cross the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic without facing passport checks under the UK government’s Brexit plans.
Its determination not to introduce border posts leaves ministers open to charges of creating a backdoor route into the UK for illegal immigrants and smugglers.
A government position paper said it wanted to preserve the Common Travel Area between Northern Ireland and the Republic, allowing unimpeded movement across the island.
And ministers made clear that their top priority in talks over the future status of the Province would be to avoid a return to the hard borders of the past.
Post-Brexit visa rules
The government indicated that it was “confident” it could enforce planned post-Brexit immigration controls through new visa and benefit rules.
Officials also pointed out that EU nationals’ passports are checked upon arrival in the Republic because it is outside the EU’s free movement area.
The UK paper proposed a future customs arrangement which would mean the vast majority of businesses – including farmers and small firms – trading across the border remaining exempt from tariffs and food safety checks.
The policy would rely on British customs and food safety standards being closely aligned with the EU’s.
Larger companies would make customs declarations either online or at their premises.
Seamless border pledge
Theresa May, on her first day back from her summer holiday, restated her commitment to a seamless Irish border.
“There should be no physical border infrastructure of any kind on either side of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland,” she said.
“I want people to be absolutely clear: the UK does not want to see border posts for any purpose.”
The Prime Minister also confirmed that people from Northern Ireland who hold an Irish citizenship would still benefit from EU citizenship rights after Brexit.
She said rights enshrined in the Good Friday peace agreement, including the right to claim Irish citizenship, would be maintained after the UK’s departure from the EU.
Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party leader and former Stormont first minister, said: “It is clear the Government has listened to voices in Belfast, Dublin, Brussels and London about how the United Kingdom’s only EU land border could be managed after we exit the EU.”
The Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said he welcomed the commitment to avoid any physical border.
But he warned moving away from the status quo on the island of Ireland would be difficult and “imaginative and flexible solutions will be required”.
Senator Mark Daly, deputy group leader of the oppositon Fianna Fail, also welcomed efforts to avoid a hard border but warned the move could risk creating a “smuggler’s charter”.
He said “There are trade differentials between the UK and other non-European powers, offering a back door to Europe so people would import goods that are cheaper under tariff arrangements with the UK and then bring them into the Republic and on into the EU.”