Britain agreed on Monday to keep Northern Ireland in “regulatory alignment” with the European Union (EU) after Brexit, Irish government sources said, raising hopes Prime Minister Theresa May can strike a deal in Brussels to start free trade talks.
After intensive negotiations in recent days, Britain made what the Irish sources called a clear commitment to keep economic rules on both sides of the new U.K.-EU land border across the island of Ireland similar enough to allow no frontier.
That is seen as a key way to avoid customs and other infrastructure which might jeopardise the peace in Northern Ireland. “Agreement has been reached on an overall deal for the Irish issues,” one of the Irish government sources said.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said he hoped to make a positive statement shortly, adding the Irish border would not change its physical appearance after Britain leaves the EU.