Trapped In Unique Circumstances

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Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD in the Courtyard of Government Buildings today, as they gave an update on Brexit following a Cabinet meeting.

Via Prospect magazine:

There are myriad reasons why the UK doesn’t like the backstop. They can be simply summarised thus: because it entails compromise.

The EU doesn’t like it for the same reason, but from a different perspective. It entails compromise of the EU’s customs union.

The UK would have tariff free and quota free access to the EU, to avoid customs controls on the Irish land or sea border.

And it entails compromise of the single market. For it breaks up the four freedoms: effectively allowing free movement of goods to and from Northern Ireland but not the other three.

It also means that Northern Ireland would be outside the EU but treated as if it were part of the single market in some areas, including agriculture—a privilege that even the non-EU members of the European Economic Area do not have.

This is a huge ask of the EU, which is so protective of its single market and so suspicious (with no small cause) of British agri-food, especially meat products.

And there is second irony in all of this. Whilst British MPs complain about being “trapped” in a customs union or Northern Ireland “tied into” the single market, they miss the fundamental point: that as Article 1.3 of the [Protocol [on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agrtement] makes clear, what we see in the backstop is purely what the EU is prepared to do for the “unique circumstances on the island of Ireland.”

Be in no doubt that when the negotiations on the future relationship begin, we will see far less ambiguity and flexibility from the EU. It is not only the UK that is interested in “taking back control.”

The true cause of our backstop obsession (Kathy Hayward, Prospect)

Meeting possible between May and Juncker – reports (RTÉ)

6 thoughts on “Trapped In Unique Circumstances

  1. Emily Dickinson

    I know the politicians here are terrified of letting the genie out of the bottle, but I wonder if the time hasn’t arrived to broach the subject of Irish unity? It would obviate the need for a backstop, give the UK a clear path out of the EU, and even the most hardline Tories have painted themselves into a corner over the sanctity of referendum results. Surprised there isn’t more discussion.

    1. Termagant

      As long as the DUP are on the table there’s no point in even suggesting it. If Sinn Fein had some MPs in the Commons then it might have been the perfect opportunity for them to push for a united Ireland but they chose to throw their toys out of the pram and exclude themselves from the British decision making process.

  2. Noel kennedy

    Sinn Fein won’t enter WM because they would have to swear allegiance to Betty Mountbatten and as Republicans they won’t do that. Besides history has shown Irish participation in WM never ended well

    1. Cú Chulainn

      The GFA clearly sets out the path to a united Ireland. We just want to milk HMG for €10bn per year for, say the next 80 or 100 years..

  3. Truth in the News

    Sinn Fein participating in a Westminster vote would hardly overturn a majority of couple
    hundred and at no time has the vote being near the number that Sinn Fein would have
    overturned the majority, if this is examined in more detail, by those who promote it, are they
    really saying that those who established the first Dail in 1919 should have gone to
    Westminister and asked for a vote to be taken to grant Independence, whats more ironic
    is that the political rump that like to claim themselves successors to 1919 Dail are the
    very group promoting this waffle, incidentally “Betty Mountbatten” is really Mrs Elizabeth
    Battenburg nee Saxe Colburg Gotha, with one half of her offspring “Windsor” and the other
    “Mountbatten”

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