In an effort to break the deadlock in Brexit talks with Britain, Brussels has indicated that it is willing to reduce customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
The number of checks on goods crossing from the mainland to Northern Ireland could be reduced to a few lorries per day, according to EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.
He made the offer in the hope of resolving tensions between the United Kingdom and the EU now that Liz Truss was Prime Minister.
According to Sefcovic’s proposals, the trade border that has been effectively imposed down the Irish Sea would be “invisible.”
Checkpoints on almost all vehicles crossing the Irish Sea could be eliminated if the UK provides EU officials with real-time data on trade movements.
The senior eurocrat added there was very little difference between what Westminster was demanding and what the EU was now offering.
He promised that physical checks would be conducted only when there is a reasonable suspicion of illegal trade smuggling, illegal drugs, dangerous toys, or poisoned food.
“If the data are downloaded into the system, when the goods are loaded onto the ferry from Britain… I believe we can process them remotely while sailing to Northern Ireland,” Mr Sefcovic said.
“It could be resolved very, very quickly if we get the input from our UK counterparts.”
It is understood the UK already has close to real-time tracking systems ready to go.
While the EU proposal falls short of the UK’s demands to remove the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction as the final arbiter on disputes, it may provide the necessary breakthrough for a deal to be reached.