Tuesday 22 January 2019

Good, bad or ugly: Five ways Brexit could affect Republic-Northern Ireland Border

Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

In a snapshot,here is how the UK's Brexit could really affect the Republic-Northern Ireland border.

1. Back to bad old days

The 1992 EU border-free market abolished ugly customs posts, checks and delays. Peace ended security controls. Dublin, supported by Brussels, insists there is no going back.

London agrees, but it lacks detail on how it can be avoided.

2. Status Quo

Once the UK exits the EU, the Irish Border becomes a de facto external EU-UK border. The EU has no internal trade borders, keeps the same product standards, and levies no customs tariffs, for internal cross-border trade. A special deal would have to be worked out to do this.

3. Backstop

A draft deal keeps the North inside the EU customs union, meaning no tariffs. The North would effectively mirror EU single market product standards.

But unionists fear controls for trade with England, Wales and Scotland would result.

Agreed in principle last December, the UK in March rejected detailed proposals aimed at giving it force of law.

Read more: Coveney tells May to deliver on Border commitments as she clings to Chequers deal

4. Chequers

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's so-called Chequers document was cleared by her cabinet in July but there is ongoing division. This envisaged the UK maintaining a "common rulebook" for all goods traded with the EU after Brexit, including agricultural products. Brussels said this could not happen. A special deal worked out for Ireland could not extend to Britain while London seeks to undercut the EU with its own global trade deals.

5. Deal without drama

Ahead of a decisive EU leaders' summit on October 19, both London and Brussels are more conciliatory. The EU appears set to offer a deal for the North comparable with the backstop. Checks with Britain and the North would be kept to a minimum.

Irish Independent

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