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That ‘frictionless’ border… and more on the RoI and Brexit January 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Still a lot of aspirational language being spoken this evening in relation to the Border after Brexit. For example…

She said there will be no return to a hard border and reaffirmed her commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

Mrs May said she fully respects that Ireland will remain a member state of the EU.

She said both governments want a “seamless, frictionless border” to continue to see trade and the continuation of the Common Travel Area.

How can one square the certainty of the ‘no return to a hard border’ and the more contingent language in relation to a ‘seamless, frictionless border’? Truth is one can’t.

Meanwhile I wonder if this piece was written with half an eye towards criticisms of the government for not seemingly being involved sufficiently in engaging with the reality of Brexit. For it suggests that there’s been a lot of activity under the radar since last year by ‘a diplomatic, political and official campaign’.

And what of the Border?

Officials are satisfied that the Government appears to be making good progress on the retention of the Common Travel Area.
Word has reached Irish Embassies around the continent that Michel Barnier speaks about it as an early priority in the negotiations when he is speaking to other governments.
However, the question of EU-UK relations – and, therefore, British-Irish trade and the role of customs at the Border – remains deeply uncertain.
Senior sources say that the pretty broad EU view is that trade is an EU competence, and if and when the British do exit the customs union then the arrangements with Ireland will be the same as the arrangements with the rest of the EU. If that involves tariffs, it involves tariffs.
There will be, officials expect, some EU understanding about how the Border should work in the future, with other countries understanding the Irish position that it should be as soft or invisible as possible.

And how soft or invisible will that be because – truly – anything not invisible is going to be…well… visible.

This next may give comfort or it may not.

There may even be some local arrangements for agricultural products that cross and re-cross the Border, speculates one source.
But a special arrangement for Ireland on trade seems very unlikely.


1. Aengus Millen - January 30, 2017

I totally agree if I here this “borders of the past” phrase one more time I’m gonna explode. First of all we may not believe her but secondly their are any number of things which were not done in the past but which are still bad. I usually find the Irish Times only minorly annoying but they sent out an update earlier today saying Theresa May confirms no return to the borders of the past. As if first of all this was some huge concession and secondly as if it wasn’t something she’s already said a million times.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 31, 2017

It’s almost like they’re hoping by repeating it like that it will be true – whether she means it or not. They’re likely going to be disappointed.


2. GW - January 30, 2017

It’s gonna be great! And lubed to the max.

Liked by 1 person

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