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After Brexit, Northern Ireland may obtain a special status in the EU
by Will Dobson
Thursday Aug 9th, 2018 12:54 AM
What will be Great Britain's farewell to the EU: a hard or a soft one? The fate of the UK deal on exiting the EU has not been sealed yet. One particularly significant issue relating to Brexit is the Irish border, or it would be better to say 'the preservation of peace in Northern Ireland'.
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What will be Great Britain's farewell to the EU: a hard or a soft one? The fate of the UK deal on exiting the EU has not been sealed yet. One particularly significant issue relating to Brexit is the Irish border, or it would be better to say 'the preservation of peace in Northern Ireland'.

Frankly, Theresa May's Brexit plan is a rather extreme solution, both economically and politically. Prime-minister's rigidity can not only spoil stable relations with Ireland, it can also accentuate the growing separatist sentiment inside the country. Requesting the restoration borders between Ulster and the Republic of Ireland is, by far, quite shortsighted for May. It may revive old regional tensions in Europe.

Current border between Ireland and the United Kingdom exists, in fact, only on paper as de facto it has been abolished right after the 1998 reconciliation. It is not a problem as long as both sides are members of the EU. Moreover, the Common Travel Area has been operating since the 1950s. But if Great Britain leaves the EU, all border-crossing arrangements will go up in smoke.

However, a new round of armed confrontation may be the most terrible effect of May's Brexit for this region. Taking into account that Catholic and Protestant militarist groups, including the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its cells, continue to exist, the dire conditions of Brexit may very likely result in bloody confrontation and bury the Good Friday Agreement.

Main political forces of the United Kingdom recognize the need to delete a stricter version of the UK divorce from the EU. For instance, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Arlene Foster makes every effort to avoid a dangerous, in every sense of the word, conflict and at the same time fully protect the interests of Northern Ireland. For that sake, the DUP is ready to sacrifice its arrangements with the Tories and even leave the United Kingdom 'under certain conditions'.

It can be assumed that after London's divorce from Brussels Northern Ireland may be able to obtain a special status in the European Union. The time for making a final decision on Brexit is running out. So, we are waiting for results of the discussion during a private session.