EU says onus on UK to provide solutions to Irish border problem

Updated: 

Brussels is laying responsibility for sorting out arrangements for the Irish border after Brexit solely on the UK government, new papers reportedly reveal.

The latest batch in a series of documents setting out the European Union's negotiating position are expected to be released on Thursday but do "not put forward solutions" for resolving travel between the north and south of the island of Ireland after 2019.

Instead the papers say the onus to sort out the problem "remains on the UK", according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

The European Union flag in front of Parliament
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

"The present paper does not put forward solutions for the Irish border," the papers state.

"The onus to propose solutions which overcame the challenges created on the island of Ireland by the UK's withdrawal and its decision to leave the customs union and the internal market remains on the UK."

Brexit Secretary David Davis has insisted discussions with Brussels on border plans have been "good" but the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said "a lot more substantial work" needs to be done.

The EU paper calls for "unique solutions" and floats the possibility of "specific provisions" being included in the exit agreement to address the fact the peace process was underpinned by common EU law.

Brexit Secretary David Davis, left, and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
Brexit Secretary David Davis, left, and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (Virginia Mayo/AP)

Among the draft documents are also demands for European delicacies like Parmesan cheese and Champagne to be given a protected status in British law after Brexit, according to the FT.

Intellectual property rights must not be "undermined by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU", the papers state.

To make safeguards for geographic food and drink specialities that have protections, such as parma ham, enforceable "specific domestic legislation" may be needed.

Mr Barnier is expected to be quizzed about the contents of the documents at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday afternoon.