As the Government has made clear on a number of occasions, a no deal Brexit would result in far reaching change on the island of Ireland, with a particular impact on North-South trade.
I will meet Michel Barnier later today to take stock of developments across a range of Brexit related issues.
We are working closely with the European Commission to address our shared twin objectives of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, and protecting the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it.
These are highly politically sensitive and technically complex issues and officials are in ongoing contact and engagement with the Commission on them.
The goal is to reach an outcome with the Commission which enables us to provide reassurance to Member States that Ireland is taking sufficient steps to protect the integrity of the Single Market, thus protecting our position within it.
Any arrangements for the border in a no deal scenario will inevitably be sub-optimal and interim in nature. They cannot provide the same level of protection as the backstop, and will result in significant disruption for Northern Ireland and the all island economy.