The European Union would be willing to discuss the possibility of a customs union with the UK following its departure from the continental bloc, its chief negotiator has said.
Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Michel Barnier commented yesterday (April 8th 2019) that if talks between prime minister Theresa May and leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn lead to an agreement to seek a customs union, Brussels would be ready to ensure that goal was achieved.
"The Political Declaration provides for a range of outcomes, including a customs union. We are ready to make this clear, if it helps, and this work can be done extremely quickly," Mr Barnier added.
A crucial summit will take place in Brussels this Wednesday, with EU27 leaders meeting to consider a further delay to the UK's Brexit deadline.
Council president Donald Tusk has suggested a one-year flexible extension to allow Britain to work out a new plan.
Mrs May has always said one of her ultimate aims was the UK being in control of its trade policy post-Brexit, something a customs union rules out. However, she has acknowledged in recent weeks that there needs to be compromise in order to leave the EU with a deal.
A customs union means that once goods have cleared customs in one country and the tariffs or charges on imports paid, they can be shipped to other nations in the union without further tariffs being imposed.