The EU stops being soft with 10 Downing Street about Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, returning to the House of Commons for the first Prime Minister Questions since the summer recess. September 6, 2017. (UK Government work, some rights reserved).

After the failed successive meetings about Brexit between the European Union and the British negotiation teams, the European Commission decided to stiffen its position. Last week EU’s executive arm issued a Press Release saying, “As it was a UK’s decision to leave the EU, it’s a UK’s responsibility to propose solutions…”. One of the most burning issues in this regard touching directly on peoples’ lives, is the future relations between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, with Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the United Kingdom.

Until 29 March 2019 the two parts of Ireland will both continue being members of the European Union and nothing will change. Until that date people, goods, services and capital will continue crossing the geographical border line on the island, without any check or control whatsoever. Exactly in the same manner as in the case between all EU member states. After Brexit though, the UK will automatically cease being a member of the EU and there has to be a new arrangement in the relations and the crossings of the borders between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Actually, this border line of 499 km will be the only land border between the EU and the UK.

A border line of 499 km

As things stand now it’s not at all certain what will happen on 30 March 2019. It’s eighteen months from now till then, and many may say there is enough time to find solutions. But for an issue like this, weighing so heavily on the lives of the Irish people on both sides of the border, it’s already too late. Anxiety is building quickly all over the island. London hasn’t made any proposals on this question, unless some wishful thinking is considered a serious argument.

Actually, the only concrete act the 10 Downing Street occupant has done so far in this direction was to base her Parliamentary majority on the votes of 10 right wing Anglophile Northern Ireland MPs, thereby enraging the rest of the local political groups. To be reminded, the civil war in Northern Ireland between the right wing Protestant Anglophiles and the left wing Nationalists has lasted for decades. It ended in April 1998 with the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.

Civil conflict looming again

The European Union helped Northern Ireland economically with specially designed programs. Then, the completely free interaction and communication between the two parts of the island did the rest, letting the steam of the civil conflict out. On top of that, the Republic of Ireland and the UK, both not being members of the Schengen Area, signed between them the ‘Common Travel Area’ agreement, making sure that the north and the south part of the island communicate in every possible way as if there is not such a thing as a border line.

This reality is now under threat. After Brexit, Northern Ireland as a part of the UK will exit the European Union, while the Irish Republic will remain a part of it. All of a sudden, the geographical border may again become a tough reality, with real check posts and custom control booths. Such an eventuality has already created political unrest and social anguish in Northern Ireland, threatening even a resurgence of violence and terrorism. This is something that nobody wants, but still both sides, London and Brussels, are not doing much to avoid. Of the two sides, the UK should be more anxious, because Northern Ireland is Britain’s problem not the EU’s.

An EU clarification

In view then of this dangerous deadlock, the European Commission published last week a paper clarifying its position. It says “Today’s paper states that the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ should continue to be protected and strengthened in all its parts after the United Kingdom‘s withdrawal from the European Union. The continuation of the ‘Common Travel Area’, which facilitates the interaction of people in Ireland and the UK, should also be recognized”.

From the 10 Downing Street side, all we have seen and heard so far about the Irish question, is just wishful thinking. The UK negotiators indirectly propose the continuation of the existing free arrangement, forgetting that Northern Ireland will not be a part of the EU as from 30 March 2019. The present arrangement can only persist under a full Customs Union between the UK and the EU. But this is a Herculean task to achieve in every respect, politically and economically.

Brussels lip service

On the Brussels side, the Commission’s paper may be seen as welcoming a perfect solution, but the reality is very different. Let’s follow the text. In a paragraph the Commission happily states that we must “aim to find flexible and imaginative solutions to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland”. True, only the avoidance of a hard border can maintain peace and prosperity in Ireland. But the Commission sternly clarifies this cannot happen at the expense only of the EU, and the EU’s law and rules have to be respected. So it adds: “These solutions must respect the proper functioning of the internal market and the Customs Union, as well the integrity and effectiveness of the EU’s legal order. As it was the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it is the UK’s responsibility to propose solutions in this regard”.

Those last severe observations tell the whole gloomy story. The EU will not allow a ‘hole’ of 499 km in its Customs Union and internal market for the sake of Northern Ireland, and London better grasp that. It also says that this deadlock should have haunted the Brexiteers when they advertised ‘leave’ and obviously it didn’t. So it’s their task to come up with proposals, which would not entail any kind of bending of the EU rules and order. In short, Brussels now clarifies that the political problems the Brexiteers face vis-a-vis the Brits who voted ‘leave’ are to be solved and paid in full by those who choose to haul Britain away from Europe. This is an obvious change from the recent supportive stance of Continental Europe, towards the mounting problems of all kinds London has with Brexit.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

One more country to test the EU project: Kaczynski’s Poland

The megatrend that will shape our working future

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

How to stop data leaks

Two EU Commissioners fire at will against the US

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

We finally have a life-saving vaccine for Ebola

Tech companies could achieve much more by serving the common good. Here’s 3 steps they should take

From Kenya to China, here’s why countries should start working together on AI

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

The financial crisis always prefers the south of Eurozone

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

How secure is blockchain?

Central African Republic militia leader and football executive, transferred to ICC

Moscow’s Eurasian Union lost significance after the crisis in Ukraine

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Pumping more money into banks but leaving them unregulated doesn’t help

Here are 6 big ideas to help the environment

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

Recreational cannabis poses ‘significant’ health challenges to youth: drugs control body

Maros Sefcovic Canete European Commission Energy

Better late than never? Commission runs now to fight energy dependency on Russia with the sustainable energy security package

Iran nuclear talks’ deadline extended: the match is still open for many

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

A lack of affordable homes is forcing young Britons to live with their parents

Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders

The three US financial war fleets

Apple’s tax avoidance scheme remains as creative as their new iPhone

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

How tomorrow’s buildings will make you – and the planet – healthier

What could a no-deal Brexit mean for developing countries?

Trump denies climate change existence while Paris Agreement is not fully supported by G20 ahead of COP24

This Chinese tech giant’s latest gadget is… a bus

Innovative urban financing can make our cities stronger

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

Education critical to ensure future of forests, and reverse their destruction

Consumer product quality: Parliament takes aim at dual standards

Estonia is making public transport free

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

These countries have the highest minimum wages

Do you dare to go to China?

Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

Tackling water scarcity: 4 ways to pull H20 out of thin air

Terrorism and migrants: the two awful nightmares for Europe and Germany in 2016

Climate change is a disruptor. Here’s how to harness it for innovation

A record one million Syrians displaced over six months, during six key battles: UN investigators

Guterres underlines climate action urgency, as UN weather agency confirms record global warming

3 reasons all countries should embrace the Global Compact for Migration

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

Silk Road Unlimited

The EU patent space and Unified Court are born

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

ECOFIN: Choosing between the re-unification of Eurozone and a stalemate

G20 World Exclusive Interview: “The world, especially emerging economies and developing countries, require a more sustainable and quality development”, the Spokesperson of Japan underscores live from Antalya Turkey

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s