EU officials sarcastically predicted the Government’s hi-tech solution to the Irish border problem might not be ready until 2085.
And they said the “virtual reality” plan – championed by Brexiteers – could add several minutes onto lorry checks causing a “nightmare” at Dover.
As a result European leaders could keep renewing the transition period until an answer to the Irish conundrum is agreed.
A senior EU official told The Sun: “Max Fac is a bit of virtual reality, it’s not available in the real world. It’s based on a couple of premises not a single country would be able to accept.
“The costs are big and even then you don’t end up with a smooth border. You could perhaps have Max Fac in 2085, but it’s not readily available now or even in three to five years. It would be the miracle solution.”
The official said the UK and EU could agree to either change the end date for the transition, currently set for December 2020, or to roll it over until an answer is found.
They said: “There’s no legal limit, so in truth it will be a political decision in the end. It would be a bit more complicated if it’s really indefinite in time.”
And they insisted EU leaders will not let the UK crash out without a deal given the risks that would pose to their economies.
They revealed: “Leaders won’t want to take any additional risk that would dampen growth even more. There’s still a lot of common sense out there.”
They made the remarks as it emerged Brexiteers have lost the battle within Cabinet over keeping us in the Customs Union beyond 2021.
Ministers have thrashed out the compromise as an alternative to Brussels’ backstop proposal, which would see Northern Ireland stay in the Single Market and Customs Union.
But it is likely to be immediately rejected by Eurocrats, who will insist the UK must extend the whole transition if it cannot find another way to avoid a hard border.
They will also demand that Britain still signs up to a legal promise of a backstop regardless, with trust between the two sides over the issue at rock bottom.
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