A plan under consideration would see the scope of the backstop whittled down and largely confined to covering livestock, plus animal and plant products.
The private discussions amongst diplomats in Brussels at still at an early stage, but still contrasts with the EU’s public line that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened.
An EU source told The Sun: “That’s where Boris is already having success – at least we’re thinking at the highest levels about alternatives”.
Under the compromise solution, Northern Ireland would mirror Brussels rules on animal and plant health to allow “seamless” trade in agricultural products.
But in return Brussels would agree to take a “controlled risk” on all other goods crossing the border from the UK into Ireland.
Goods would be tracked by a system of alternative arrangements championed by Brexiteers, such as trusted trader schemes.
The EU would not apply tariffs to any goods crossing the border from Britain, including those falling outside the scope of regulatory alignment – a major “concession” on their part, Brussels sources said.