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Thread: Brexit and the Northern Ireland border crossing

  1. #11
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    Rationally, border control between Eire and NI is a two way process - so the method/extent of control of entry into NI from Eire is up to NI/UK, and control for the reverse direction is up to the EU/Eire.......so why the hell are the EU expecting the UK to come up with THE solution?? Obviously, the UK has proposed an 'electronic' system which they say will remove the requirement for a hard border.....but that only covers one half of the problem . The EU have pooh poohed that idea - but it doesn't prevent the UK/NI from implementing it - as it is to satisfy the UK's requirement - even if the EU do not find it sufficiently acceptable for them to use it as a basis for an agreed trade deal - but what form of border control are they proposing, if any, for their side - other than keeping NI in the Customs Union/Single Market., which is clearly unacceptable to the UK.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slarty View Post
    Assuming that there is no Brexit deal (hard Brexit), am I right in assuming that according to EU rules there would have to be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Eire?

    If so what would be the likely outcomes if both the UK and Eire refused to implement such a border post Brexit and left the border open as it is now?

    I’m no expert and I’m sure there would be many issues, but I haven’t ever seen this possibility discussed so I would be interested to hear what people think.
    Hi Slarty

    I've copy and pasted a comment I wrote a while back which might be a starting point. I don't think it covers all your question but fire away with any follow ups:

    -- The UK has committed to: (a) leaving the Single Market and Customs Union; (b) avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland ; (c) maintaining free movement of persons across the border and (d) have no physical infrastructure in place.

    -- There is currently no other example on the planet of any other border solution which has found a way to avoid physical infrastructure when rules & tariffs diverge. So how is the UK going to reconcile all of its above commitments?

    -- The EU, as a stakeholder in the peace process and representing in particular the interests of its member state Ireland (and ironically also representing the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland who voted against Brexit), is simply saying to the UK that its above commitments do not seem to be functionally compatible and as such the UK needs to actually put forward how its commitments will work in tandem. So far, the technology solution lacks detail -- it is aspirational and maybe one day in the years to come somebody will manage to fill in the gaps. But we do not have years, we have months (noting that the two-year Article 50 withdrawal process was drawn up on the presumption that any country seeking to leave the EU would have a plan for doing so -- which the UK did not).

    -- The EU is proposing that unless a workable solution can be found, the only sensible way around plunging the island of Ireland into unprecedented uncertainty about its border is for the UK to agree to a backstop which keeps Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union (at least until such times as a future solution can be developed).

    So from the EU perspective the question to the UK is -- if you have these conflicting commitments -- then tell us how you want to make them work compatibly. It is not for the EU to hold the UK's hand and help it figure out the plan which the Brexiteers should have been thinking up for all those decades when they were sitting around telling us how much worse off we were in the EU.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slarty View Post
    Just to reiterate: what would be the likely outcomes if both the UK and Eire refused to implement a hard border post Brexit and left the border open as it is now? I'm not interested if its a good idea or a bad idea nor if the emperor is wearing clothes or not. Its a relatively simple question folks, I'm sure someone here could make a stab at an answer no?
    I imagine the first step would be to send the EU's army to invade the Irish Republic and set up the required border controls. If that did not work they could use the nuclear option which is to send Margrethe Vestager and demand that the Irish pay the 13 billion Euro fine that the EU levied because the Irish applied some very Irish ideas on Corporation tax in order to attract various multinational companies to Ireland.

    To be honest I can not see what the EU can do. Neither the Irish nor the British want a hard border and the EU does not have the military, economic or political muscle to do anything about it.

  4. #14
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    Its not hard ,Ireland is quite easy to protect customs wise it being an Island and has everything in place to control its borders both North and South . Ireland therefore just has to align itself with the UK or even join us in leaving the EU and the border is unchanged .

    If the EU continue to play silly buggers and make unrealistic demands in the negotiations with Eire support I would throw up the fences and make a harder than hard border with any exports having to come into the UK via shipping . Border controls for workers and local business with trusted trader passes .

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  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borchester View Post

    To be honest I can not see what the EU can do. Neither the Irish nor the British want a hard border and the EU does not have the military, economic or political muscle to do anything about it.
    I would agree - apart from fines I dont really see what the EU could do. Which is probably what is driving the EU's sudden admittance that a technological open border solution could work..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetwalker View Post
    Its not hard ,Ireland is quite easy to protect customs wise it being an Island and has everything in place to control its borders both North and South . Ireland therefore just has to align itself with the UK or even join us in leaving the EU and the border is unchanged .

    If the EU continue to play silly buggers and make unrealistic demands in the negotiations with Eire support I would throw up the fences and make a harder than hard border with any exports having to come into the UK via shipping . Border controls for workers and local business with trusted trader passes .
    I don't think either Eire or the UK want a hard border, so it doesn't sound that likely to me regardless of the EU. From the answers so far it appears that the EU could theoretically impose fines on Eire for a range of breaches of border controls, but might be unwilling to do so. If it’s as simple as that (which I doubt) then perhaps it’s a non-issue. Business as usual then across the Irish border or what?

  8. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slarty View Post
    I don't think either Eire or the UK want a hard border, so it doesn't sound that likely to me regardless of the EU. From the answers so far it appears that the EU could theoretically impose fines on Eire for a range of breaches of border controls, but might be unwilling to do so. If it’s as simple as that (which I doubt) then perhaps it’s a non-issue. Business as usual then across the Irish border or what?
    But it can only be business as usual until such times as rules diverge --- this is the point. Everything the Brexiteers say about 'oh we don't want a hard border with Ireland' is based on the presumption that everything will stay the way it is now. But this is not the point of Brexit is it? The point of Brexit is that the UK will diverge from EU regulation and therefore standards are going to change, classifications are going to change, tariffs are going to diverge. In that environment, having an open frictionless border is almost impossible without highly advanced technological solutions which may be years away from fruition. Businesses in the Republic will have to conform to EU standards, while business in Northern Ireland will have to conform to UK standards. Sure, on a practical level that wouldn't be a problem right now -- because the standards are the same -- but the standards aren't going to stay the same and therefore a potential legal minefield is being created which may ruin cross-border trade in Ireland. You simply cannot trade goods across a border freely and frictionlessly where either side of that border imposes different regulatory standards in the quality or classification of those goods.

    So -- if the UK does not agree to any form of arrangement which will alleviate the regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and also just decides to walk away from the negotiations and 'let Mexico build the wall', then yes, Ireland may well be forced to harden the border to protect the integrity of its market. This is the EU's point and this is Ireland's point -- and while Brexit has evoked all sorts of patriotic nationalism and a sense that the UK's reclaiming some lost mythical sovereignty means it can do whatever it wants, the EU and the Irish are simply pointing out the real legal, economic and political problems on a practical level. The UK has committed to having no hard border, and knows well that a laissez-faire approach will more or less eventually lead to a hardening of the border, so it would be going against its own commitments by simply walking away and blaming the EU/Irish for taking the necessary steps to contain the damage.

    For the Irish people, it would be just yet another example of the British taking a s**t on Ireland and the Irish having to clean up the mess.

  9. #18
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    For the Irish people, it would be just yet another example of the British taking a s**t on Ireland and the Irish having to clean up the mess.
    Barefaced lies.When the Irish needing bailing out it was done,when the Irish voted out of the EU we stood by their decision,when their democracy was crushed by the EU we said we would finish what they started.
    17,410,742 people said LEAVE!

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  12. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Jefe View Post
    I am merely saying what the perception would be -- but this was not the substantive point of my post. My point is that a laissez-faire approach to the border, i.e. let the EU and the Irish do whatever they want on their side and the UK just leaves them at it, and that it would just be business as usual, just does not make sense.

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