EU promises to find "flexible" border solution with Brexit

European Council president Donald Tusk said: "It is of crucial importance to support the peace process of Northern Ireland"

EU promises to find "flexible" border solution with Brexit

President of the European Council Donald Tusk, right. | Image: Rene Rossignaud/AP/Press Association Images

The European Union (EU) has promised to find a flexible solution to avoid a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland after Brexit.

European Council president Donald Tusk has given the remaining member states draft guidelines on their negotiation stance.

He said they want to make sure there's a stable transition at the UK's only land border with the EU.

"We will seek flexible and creative solutions aiming at avoiding a hard border," he said. "It is of crucial importance to support the peace process of Northern Ireland."

On a trade, Tusk reiterated that sufficient progress on the UK's withdrawal must be before any new deal is struck.

"Citizens all over the EU live, work and study in the UK [...] We need to settle the status and situation after the withdrawl with reciprocal and non-discriminatory guarantees."

The statement comes after the UK's Brexit David Davis secretary was forced to deny that Prime Minister Theresa May is attempting to use security as a “bargaining chip” to secure a favourable exit deal.

However, he warned that if a deal cannot be reached it will not be good for either side.

"We are going to have - going through this process - lots of times where we say 'this is a good outcome, this is a bad outcome,'" he said.

A line mentioning security arrangements in Mrs May’s six page letter triggering the Brexit process has been cause for considerable concern in Europe.

The line reads: "in security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened."

The line has been taken as a threat that Britain may withdraw its security and intelligence assets if it fails to secure a preferential deal.

"No Irish Border posts"

Appearing before a committee of MPs to answer questions about exiting the union earlier this month, Mr Davis also stressed the importance of Irish considerations in the upcoming negotiations.

Je explained: “There is a border there now, and there are excise duty differences across the border - which are collected. But they’re dealt with in a subtle and not highly visible way.

"It’ll cost us money and it’s cost us a lot of work on technology to make plain the border controls on goods, but without having border posts. That’s what we intend to do," he added.