The EU will accept UK proposals for the adoption of green and red lanes for goods moving through Northern Irish ports that are subject to Northern Ireland Protocol rules, according to RTE.
This would mean that British goods destined to remain in Northern Ireland would be treated differently to those moving into the Republic of Ireland and the EU’s single market.
Such a deal will “be across the board” governing both animal health and food safety issues as well as customs.
“We have acknowledged the unintended consequences of the protocol and we know the most important thing is that we have a solution that works for Northern Ireland,” an EU source said.
Acceptance of the deal could increase the likelihood of EU and UK negotiators reaching an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
As reported previously by the IOE&IT Daily Update, the EU had reportedly conceded ground on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in overseeing the agreement.
However, an official stressed that key gaps remain to be bridged, including the matter of ECJ jurisdiction.
The EU’s acceptance of the principle of differentiating goods bound only for Northern Ireland from those destined for the single market is based on the provision of real-time data about goods movements.
A further confidence building measure has been the UK legislating to complete the construction of Border Control Posts (BCP) in Northern Irish ports for sanitary and phytosanitary checks, according to EU sources.
RTE also reports that the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, has said she is cautiously optimistic about the outcome of talks on the protocol during a visit to the Republic.
However, the Belfast Telegraph reports that unionists remain “totally opposed” to the construction of BCPs and the role of the ECJ.
Irish unionists and their allies within the Conservative Party’s European Research Group (ERG) have vowed to obstruct any proposed protocol deal that does not meet seven key tests outlined by the DUP.
According to the Independent, some Conservative MPs are demanding a House of Commons vote on the protocol deal.
ERG deputy chair David Jones argued that a vote would be necessary, and said he expects opposition from within the party to any compromise that maintains separate rules for Britain and Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, senior EU figures have warned that plans to scrap thousands of EU laws by the end of the year risks triggering a trade dispute between Westminster and Brussels.
Letters from EU politicians, seen by the Observer, reveal concern that the UK is about to lower standards in areas such as environmental protection and workers’ rights below provisions that were agreed in the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
The EU is preparing “unilateral rebalancing measures” in secret meetings in Brussels which could include the option of imposing tariffs on UK goods entering the EU single market.
The FT reports that the government has identified another 1,000 pieces of EU legislation that could be scrapped or amended, bringing the total of leftover EU laws to 3,700.
It also admitted this is not exhaustive and will need to be updated quarterly as more laws are unearthed.