Why the EU is rejecting Boris Johnson's latest Brexit plan

Tim O'Donnell

It was no secret that the European Union wasn't prepared to accept U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest Brexit proposal, but The Guardian obtained leaked documents with the EU's point-by-point reasoning for its rejection.

Johnson's plan included Northern Ireland remaining in an all-Ireland regulatory zone within the EU's single market for goods and electricity, but with a catch that the EU reportedly couldn't come to terms with. Northern Ireland's parliament would hang on to veto powers to block the arrangement every four years, which was cause for concern for the EU.

Beyond that, The Guardian reports that the EU believes Johnson's plan could eventually result in abuses within the trading market. For example, they argue Johnson and his team provided no details about how to combat smuggling and that they removed assurances made by previous Prime Minister Theresa May that Northern Ireland would not enjoy a competitive advantage when it comes to trade. The EU also noted that the U.K. would have access to EU databases which would allow it to police the Irish customs border and the U.K.-Northern Ireland regulatory border even if the proposal was vetoed.

EU sources denied that Brussels would present a counteroffer to Downing Street. "It is the U.K. that wants to replace the backstop — and that is our solution," one senior EU diplomat said. Read more at The Guardian.