UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has presented a new Brexit plan to the European Union (EU), and the organization’s executive arm, the European Commission, is set to examine it late Wednesday.
The BBC reports that Johnson had described the plan as a “compromise by the UK.” The European Commission promised to examine the proposal “objectively,” while the Prime Minster of Ireland, who has seen the new plan, said he was not “encouraged” by it. Should this latest Brexit deal fall through, Johnson has said that the only alternative is a no-deal Brexit on the current deadline, October 31.
According to CNBC, Johnson has promised that the new deal would “avoid checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland” in a speech to his Conservative Party in Manchester. The deal reportedly involves Northern Ireland remaining under the EU’s agri-food and manufactured goods regulations from 2021 through 2025, but not in the EU customs union. After 2025, the Northern Ireland Assembly would have to decide whether to follow UK or EU rules. Johnson also said that, if the UK fails to get a deal because of the issue regarding the Irish border, the UK will leave the EU without one.
The Irish border has been a key sticking point in Brexit negotiations, as lawmakers have sought to avoid the imposition of a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Some commentators have suggested that a harder border could “damage the spirit” of the Good Friday Agreement, a peace accord that followed a period of violence in Northern Ireland commonly called “The Troubles.”
In terms of travel, both the United States and the European Union have deals in place to allow flights to and from the UK to continue, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. At the same time, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has had an impact on the UK’s travel industry. Brexit uncertainty was one of the factors blamed for the recent collapse of iconic UK travel brand Thomas Cook, along with a decline in the value of the pound (also partially due to Brexit uncertainty), changing booking habits and unusually hot weather that discouraged Northern Europeans from traveling. The company filed for insolvency and ceased operations early last week, stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers and prompting the UK’s largest repatriation effort since World War II.