The Irish Backstop And The Good Friday Agreement

On the basis of the Hansard Protocol of parliamentary debates, we have listed the objections raised by MEPs to May`s Brexit deal. While the main objection was trade, the backstop received the second highest number of objections. On 17 October 2019, EU leaders and Boris Johnson agreed on a revised withdrawal agreement that replaced the backstop with a new protocol. [71] [72] In essence, this project would de facto keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and in the internal goods market (including the introduction of EU VAT), while allowing Britain to deviate. In December 2019, Labour announced that it had received an HM Treasury Paper with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which appears to show that the Prime Minister`s draft agreement would require certain types of two-way customs checks between Britain and Northern Ireland. [73] France`s experience with a conflict for New Caledonia in 1998 offers a lesson in this regard. At the time, the then Prime Minister, Michel Rocard, negotiated an agreement between the French “unionists” and the “independents” of Kanack. This agreement, which began a long period of civil peace, involved a forward-looking referendum on the future of the territory. The referendum was held without incident in November 2018. Turnout was high (81%) and a majority voted in favour of keeping France (56.7%). The parallels are clear. The prospect of an Irish land border would disrupt Northern Ireland`s economy; it would also impose high political costs on the EU.

For these reasons, a referendum in Northern Ireland should be proposed, discussed and organised as soon as possible. This may be the last chance to get rid of the backstop, as Prime Minister Johnson would like, while giving London the feeling of an orderly Brexit. The Republic of Ireland is the second highest gross domestic product per capita in the EU after Luxembourg, thanks to a favourable corporate tax system and membership of the European single market. [12] About 85% of Ireland`s freight exports worldwide are from ports in the UK, about half of which are destined for the UK, while half continue to the EU via Dover and Calais. [13] The UK`s use as a “land bridge” is rapid (it takes 10.5 hours for the Dublin-Holyhead-Dover-Calais route), but[14] could be compromised by customs checks in Wales and Calais in a Brexit without agreement. Indeed, in the absence of trade agreements, the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU (including the Republic) would amount to membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). They stipulate that the same tariffs and tariffs must be applied indiscriminately among all WTO members (the most favoured nation`s criterion), unless some members have a trade agreement. [15] This principle would also apply to trade across land borders in Ireland in the absence of a trade agreement. Firstly, the agreement was established in both countries by accepting EU membership.

As a result, issues relating to different business practices have simply not been addressed. Johnson is right that the abolition of the backstop would not be contrary to the terms of the Good Friday agreement. The agreement does not explicitly guarantee full opening of the borders between Ireland and the United Kingdom. On the contrary, demilitarization has led by default to an open border. That`s where the backstop comes in – insurance to avoid further inspections or new infrastructure at the border – after Brexit. In 1922, the newly created United Kingdom and the Land of Bavaria concluded an agreement on the Common Travel Area (CTA).

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