Monday 5 December 2016

Great preparations for a UK-free EU by 2019 are only just starting

Published 04/10/2016 | 02:30

Prime Minister Theresa May (2nd R) during a visit to a construction site in Birmingham, where new HSBC offices are being built. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool
Prime Minister Theresa May (2nd R) during a visit to a construction site in Birmingham, where new HSBC offices are being built. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool

Now we know Britain will trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty next March. And given a two-year negotiating process, we also know that by April 2019 Ireland must cope with an EU without our second largest trading partner. We know that a de facto land barrier, which separates the two jurisdictions between on the island of Ireland, is at risk of becoming a de facto EU-UK frontier raising questions about customs and immigration checks.

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We know that €1.2bn worth of trade between Ireland and Britain each week is at risk of becoming subject to trade barriers. And we know that the common travel area allowing unchecked travel between Ireland and Britain since the State's foundation is also in doubt.

Beyond the start date, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her government have given no specifics on how Britain would approach the talks.

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