Brexit

EU paper puts forward 'low friction' Brexit border solution

Lars Karlsson’s suggestions were put forward in a report on cross-border trade in Ireland, commissioned by the European Parliament. Picture by Brian Lawless, PA Wire
Andrew Madden

AN EU customs expert has outlined a "low friction" solution for the Irish border following Brexit.

Lars Karlsson's suggestions were put forward in a report on cross-border trade which was commissioned by the European Parliament.

Mr Karlsson said if the Irish border is handled in the same way as other EU frontiers it will have "a severe impact" on trade, due to high the volume of goods and the lack of infrastructure in place.

The report sets out a combination of technological and international best practice examples as a possible solution.

These include the use of 'trusted trader' schemes, number plate recognition cameras, customs clearance away from the border, and data sharing between Irish and UK authorities.

Other suggestions include the use of mobile phone networks to track vehicles and unique consignment reference numbers to follow goods through a supply chain.

However, a second report for the parliament from John Temple Lang, a lawyer and former EU official, suggested flaws in a technology-based border solution.

"These devices could be easily put out of action... just as traditional customs posts could be," he wrote.

He also said that any such system would still "necessitate a considerable degree of physical surveillance" in order to control smuggling.

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