Europe Lays Down The Law To Britain Over Future Peace And Prosperity In Ireland

It seems that the patience of the European Union with the prevarications of the United Kingdom over the post-Brexit future of the latter’s colonial outpost in the north-east of Ireland is coming to an end. According to The Guardian, EU officials have warned their UK counterparts that any withdrawal deal from the bloc must include specific legal guarantees ensuring the contested region’s regulatory alignment with the rest of the island. The newspaper claims that the start of detailed talks between the two sides followed,

….a warning from Brussels that keeping the region under EU laws was currently the only viable option for inclusion in its draft withdrawal agreement.

British officials negotiating in Brussels had been told by their counterparts on Tuesday that while full alignment would be the only option included in the withdrawal treaty, there could be a “sunset clause” included in the legally binding text, which is expected to be published in about two weeks.

Such a legal device would make the text on Northern Ireland null and void at a future date should an unexpectedly generous free trade deal or a hitherto unimagined technological solution emerge that could be as effective as the status quo in avoiding the need for border infrastructure.

As it stands, however, the UK is expected by Brussels to sign off on the text, which will see Northern Ireland remain at the end of the 21-month transition period under a large expanse of customs union and single market legislation relevant to the north-south economy and the requirements of the Good Friday agreement.

It is evident that Brussels sees the issue of continued peace, stability and prosperity in Ireland as a totemic symbol of pan-European cooperation and solidarity. To protect the future integrity of the international bloc, to prove its political and diplomatic strength, and to dissuade further secession by member states, the EU is drawing a line in the sand with London. And that line runs around the Six Counties. Unfortunately, Britain has rendered itself blind to the motivations of the representatives of Europe during the current negotiations and can only recognise and give countenance to its own inchoate needs.

This makes any hope of a near-future compromise by the faction-ridden Conservative Party government in the United Kingdom unlikely. Especially with prime minister Theresa May’s inept administration looking to the parliamentary votes of the hard-right, europhobic Democratic Unionist Party to stay in power. Meanwhile, the latter grouping is pursuing its own ethno-sectarian objectives far removed from the concerns of London or Brussels, intent on securing another century of embattled half-life for the would-be UK territory on the wrong side of the Irish Sea.

The future for Britain and its immediate neighbours is looking, in a word, bleak.

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43 comments

  1. I suppose its too much to expect the Irish to know that the EU is not Europe, the EU has never spent a brass farthing on Ireland and nothing short of continental drift could stop the UK being European.

    1. It’s common media practice to refer to the European Union as “Europe” as a sort of shorthand, albeit it should be used sparingly. The EU investments in Ireland over the last four decades are self-evident. The UK is European, at least geographically and culturally so. However if the EU and UK endure a bitter split in March 2019 and beyond I wonder will the British shun the term? Certainly some Ukippers do.

      1. The European Union is always called the EU You can’t possibly shorten EU to Europe its an obvious attempt to credit the EU with something it didn’t create and has no right to claim in fact its typical EU theft. The UK is European nothing can change that, if there is a hard Brexit the EU will lose the UK is a market of 70 million and that in or out of the EU is a big market. Ireland does most if not all of its trade with the UK and bowing and scraping to the EU will not change that, especially as a loaf of soda bread is never going to be confused with a French loaf.

        1. Yes but the term “Europe” is occasionally used to mean the European Union, at least in most English language media. I’m sure you’ve it seen umpteen times. It’s like saying Brussels as a shorthand for the EU. Given the context it is understood to mean the EU not Belgium.

          Ireland does not do all of its trade with the UK. The US is our biggest market with the UK and Belgium competing for second place. All expectations are for Ireland to benefit in the medium to long-term from Brexit in the areas of finance, software and technology, and pharmaceuticals. The agri-sector will absolutely be hit but contingency plans are already in place for that, focusing on Germany, France and other markets.

          1. The only people who use the ‘term’ Europe to describe the EU are members of the EU. The EU may have ambitions to rule Europe but even that is wrong when you consider Russia is a huge chunk of Europe and will not be sucking up to the EU anytime ever. Ireland will as always steal as much as it can from the UK the interesting thing will be how much of whatever it steals will actually pay tax in Ireland and therefore be of benefit to the Irish, the track record so far is Ireland nil and that’s before even considering if the Germans would allow Ireland to get ahead of Frankfurt.
            I don’t want to be ruder than I’ve been so far so I will say goodnight. I want a fast, hard Brexit and no amount of lies about borders or lost trade will change that

            1. Just as a point of information, it used to be common at one time, even before the EU really got going, in the UK at least to speak of “Britain and Europe”, implying that “Europe” excluded the British Isles in the popular mind.

            2. Pippakin, you say you want a ‘hard, fast Brexit’. I’d suggest that you be careful what you wish for.

              Such a hard, fast Brexit will mean no ‘Open Skies’, a major interruption to imported food, no diagnostic or theraputic isotopes, and a major problem at the Irish border.

              More, as the British government is a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, it will be seen to have renegued on its international obligations. Who will want to trade with the UK if they believe it’s word is worthless?

              Perfidious Albion redux?

              1. This is nonsense the skies will be as open as ever just not as welcoming to illegal immigrants. The worst that would happen to UK citizens is they would have to use their passports.
                The EU does not have a monopoly on the production of food and its not impossible for the UK to increase its own agriculture production.
                Please don’t start with the non existent Irish border rubbish or I will be forced to remember the number of people who were disappeared over the ‘border’ and murdered Not to mention the amount of illegal exports into the south.
                Regrettably the UK govt can’t get rid of the north of Ireland by wishing it away they are and will remain responsible for it until such time as the majority of people in the north vote to leave, very much like the Scots in fact but without the bombs, torture and murders of the Irish
                The EU has done nothing to help the Irish and are in fact responsible for bankrupting the south. I advise those who think the EU would defend moves to join the north and south to take a long look at what is happening in Catalonia.

              2. If the UK leaves the EU without any agreements, then what I suggest will happen. ‘Open Skies’ is an EU agreement, not a meaningless term; these things must happen. You cannot through wishful thinking imagine that they won’t.

                The UK has imported around 50% of its food for decades; without any agreement, there will inevitably be border and customs checks, and that means delays, and that means food rotting at the docks.

                Despite what Grayling said, it’s very unlikely that the UK can double its food production. Some stuff, such as citrus fruit, doesn’t grow well in UK climates. Or should we all survive on turnips and swedes?

                As for the Border: the Irish have long memories. The English have been interfering in Ireland for a millennium. The ‘Old English’ were assimilated, newer arrivals after the reformation not so much. The Plantation in the north-east was done to keep the locals, the Gaels, in check and under control. The planters were given lands which had been confiscated, for example, after the Flight of the Earls. (Confiscated in other areas is a synonym for ‘stolen’.) That there is now a border, that there was partition, is historically a result of English meddling.

                Back to the food; during the Irish Famine, the Great Hunger, Ireland was self-sufficient in food. But, during the Famine, much was exported to England; the policy was laissez (nous) faire, really no different from the neo-liberalism which the Brexiters seek. It didn’t matter to the English how many in Ireland starved to death (about a million.) And the English didn’t mind much about starvation in India a bit later.

                And obligations under International Treaties? Do they just vanish?

              3. Open skies is another EU nonsense. Food imported to the UK doesn’t have to go anywhere near an EU state.
                I’m not interested in the last Irish famine it was almost two hundred years ago and the Irish have been dining off it ever since. The Irish don’t export food to the UK for nothing they are well paid and most of it doesn’t have to cross any land border. If the EU block movement of EU goods to the UK the producers of those goods will be losers not the UK who can get the same goods cheaper elsewhere.
                Everyone knows about the north and about Irish duplicity they won’t stop trading with the UK because the Irish start screeching – again.
                The truth is terrorism, practised in relative isolation by the Irish for decades is now seen to be a world wide problem. The Irish victim card is all used up. If they had an ounce of brain the Irish would leave the EU

              4. Enjoy your chlorinated chicken and antibiotic-fed beef in the future. As the EMA is leaving, don’t think that there will be any new pills to counteract your new superbugs.

                One last thing; all the EU states have to agree any leaving agreement with the UK. That includes Ireland.

              5. Korhomme
                What happened to: “Enjoy your chlorinated chicken and antibiotic-fed beef in the future. As the EMA is leaving, don’t think that there will be any new pills to counteract your new superbugs. One last thing; all the EU states have to agree any leaving agreement with the UK. That includes Ireland”.?

                Which of course is fake from start to finish, particularly the last sentence, its not hard there are only two, the UK does not need the agreement of all the EU states to leave the EU. It can just pack its little bag of Sterling and go…The EU needs a deal the UK doesn’t & arguably most of the UK doesn’t want a deal with the corrupt, dishonest EU

              6. Pippakin is a troll and is just waffling.
                No real form of intelligence there. Full fantasy if anything.
                Better to just ignore.

  2. pippakin
    I wonder how your obviously beloved “UK” will cope when Scotland revokes the Union Treaty, reduces your construct to England plus it’s colonized add-on – Wales – and stands shoulder to shoulder with its fellow Celtic nation, Ireland, in the bosom of an EU Europe?

    At least Ireland has soda bread and most delicious it is in its own right just as French bread is in its own way.

    What do you munch on when you are Morris Dancing the night away? Pork Scratchings? Hardly a culinary tour de force, but whatever floats your isolationist boat.

    Best wishes
    Gillemuire Albannach

          1. With any luck but since there are strong suggestions that an independent Wales is not viable even in the corrupt EU it seems unlikely the Welsh who unlike some Irish people are not stupid would vote for a clean break. Next time you visit Wales you must take notes

            1. The tone of your replies here Pippakin just make you sound scared and desperate. Everybody knows all about England/Britain too, you made yourselves infamous all over the world. You’re right, the great hunger happened almost two hundred years ago and look how far you have fallen since, ain’t karma a bitch. Millions of Irish people were forced to America but their descendants have had the last laugh, playing a prominent role in dismantling your thieving terrorist Empire, after they saved your arrogant arses in WW2. All whilst sharing their wealth and prosperity with their cousins here in the old country. As your chosen future will require you to display a modicum of humility, somehow I foresee difficult times ahead for you.

              1. Millions of Irish people were ‘forced’ to go to America , of course you know even more were ‘forced’ to go to the UK- and then forgot to go home in fact they all so far forgot themselves that they married and raised families in America and everywhere else they went, what they did not do is go home The closest any of em ever got to ‘going home’ was putting a few dollars or pounds in the IRA begging bowl. The Irish called themselves neutral in WW2 they did not and apart from dropping bombs and murdering mostly Irish people have never done anything to harm the UK.You are referring to America but that is a two way street.The US has benefited from its close ties with the UK.
                The only reason I bother to comment here at all is I believe Brexit is at risk if the anti UK poison is allowed to drip into the river of truth. Part of it starts right here in Ireland with the non stop drone about a border everyone in Ireland particularly Custom and Excise know and therefore the Irish govt know doesn’t exist.
                And, maybe part of me is afraid Brexit voters will be betrayed the UK govt is in some ways much like the Irish govt. Its thoroughly corrupt, it doesn’t want Brexit to happen and it will do everything it can, which is so much more than the Irish can do, to make sure Brexit doesn’t happen. The antidote to that is to never let the UK govt & its accomplices forget Brexit voters are watching and only UK voters can vote in UK elections.

              2. I am with pippakin i.e the UK should be allowed to leave the EU and if the Irish people don’t like the scenario of ‘hard borders’ or whatever then they should do something about it rather than wishing it doesn’t exist. For far too long certain Irish folk have benefitted from the goodies presented to them by the very existence of the border. It’s time to put up or shut up I.e don’t like the idea of a border then remove it sin é!
                Either way it’s a win win for the Irish. Also pippakin is right I.e the UK establishment doesn’t want to leave the EU hence all the scare stories and predictions of doom if they do. Some would view them as threats in order to spook the British public into considering to change their minds?(the same threats were issued to the scots a few years ago) Btw, the same clowns who are issuing these predictions are the same clowns that couldn’t predict the financial crash of 2007/8 so go figure.

          2. “if Scotland goes (and it will) Wales follows”

            I’d like that but I fear it won’t happen. Let me try to set out some of the differences between Wales and Scotland :

            Geography : Scotland is quite a long way off from most of England’s centres of population, the exception being Durham and Newcastle which might even throw in their lot with an Indy Scotland. But that aside, Scotland feels ‘distant’ to most English folk. Wales OTOH is literally “joined at the hip” to England, with no clear geographical features to mark much of the boundary. A traveller from the English Midlands would be hard pressed to know when they’d entered Wales, apart from the road signs. To many it is little more than a sort of ‘West Anglia’. The locals talk a bit funny but that’s true of East Anglia too.

            Population : There is far more English settlement in Wales than in Scotland.
            History : Scotland was an independent kingdom with fairly stable borders for many centuries before the Scottish sovereign happened to inherit the English throne. Although the original Scottish parliament was merged with Westminster, Scotland retained its own legal system, and all the administration, officers etc. that went with it. Wales OTOH was an ever-changing mishmash of princedoms, which were gradually brought under English control over a long period, the process completed long before the union of England with Scotland. Welsh laws were abolished and the whole region brought under English common law.

            Politics : Scotland has a devolved _Parliament_ which after a few years came under the control of the SNP, who are clearly pro-EU and pro-Scottish independence, and pretty good at their job by the look of it. When the Scottish Parliament was officially opened it was declared to be the successor of the historic Scottish Parliament, now restored. Wales has an _Assembly_ (never upgraded) to parliamentary status, but then there was no clear historic president for it to look to. It can’t pass laws as such, just ‘measures’ so it’s really little more than a glorified local authority. It has always been under the control of Labour who have no desire for independence from England, and will follow the muddled English Labour as far as Brexit goes. The Welsh Nats, Plaid Cymru, are nowhere near as prominent or as effective as the SNP, to the extent that some nationalists are beginning to talk of forming a rival independence party.

            Taking all of the above into account, not to mention the Brexit referendum result where Wales voted Leave like England, I’d say that the idea that Wales would quit an England-and-Wales rump UK, is at best touch and go.

            Ond mae’n bosib gobeithio ‘falla ???

              1. Language? Just another bone of contention? Many English speakers feel threatened by ‘compulsory Welsh’, and there are large areas of Wales that have been English speaking for generations, and these include most of the big population centres. So in a way the language issue is something of a two-edged sword.

    1. The English would love it if Scotland left the UK its the reason Scottish ‘independence’ referendums are always held in Scotland. If the English had an inndependence vote Scotland would be gone.
      Once and I remember the days Soda Bread was lovely now it falls off a conveyor belt and is no better or worse than any other bread including French loaves. In fact its worse its as dry as a bone. I actually love bread and I’m a bit of a fusspot about quality. This doesn’t mean I always buy the most expensive I can’t afford it but it does mean I usually know the difference.
      Considering how much fuss the Irish make about their version of tap dancing it takes some cheek, and when have the Irish ever lacked that, to whine about English Morris dancing

      1. Lol, who the Hell would ever BUY soda bread, I guess taking a half hour to make her own is beneath the bowld Pippa. I travelled in England(and Scotland) for a few months in 2014 and everywhere I went I met English people outraged as the prospect that those upstart Scots might dismantle their precious Union, so this idea that the English would vote to break up with Scotland is pure horsesh!t.

  3. At what point does the rump state cease to be ‘the United Kingdom’? The UK of Great Britain and Ireland came into being in 1801. They lost most of Ireland and just added ‘Northern’ before “Ireland”. It seems that Dad’s Army is happy to lose its legacy colony in north-eastern Ireland AND Scotland. At which point does it have to give up the title of UK and its various historic flags, emblems and national anthem? Or will it be the UK of England?

    1. Why do the Irish care so much about the UK as a title? When Scotland bugger off the ‘UK’ will probably become Britain which just happens to be the long term plan of most UK politicians who want England devolved into a series of regions. There is no ‘Dad’s army’ If anything the English are furious at the UK govt continually spending more money on the Irish, Scots and Welsh than they do on the English. The English want to be rid of all hangers on.

    2. Greater England, maybe? Certainly not the UK, as there would be no second ‘kingdom’ for England to unite with. Hauling down the union flag and replacing it with the St. George’s Cross would probably not go down too well in Wales, or even Cornwall for that matter.

  4. The United Kingdom that was formed in 1707 had two signatories : the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England which at the time incorporated Ireland and Wales.

    Technically the union can only be dissolved by agreement between the two signatories (England accepting a future Scottish yes vote for example).

    So really a future UK without Scotland should simply be called England. Would the Welsh be annoyed? Or would they keep voting Labour for the rest of time?

    1. The Kingdom formed after the union of crowns in 1707 was the Kingdom of Great Britain.

      The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed in 1801. This changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the early 1920s.

  5. Pippakin:

    “Which of course is fake from start to finish, particularly the last sentence, its not hard there are only two, the UK does not need the agreement of all the EU states to leave the EU. It can just pack its little bag of Sterling and go…The EU needs a deal the UK doesn’t & arguably most of the UK doesn’t want a deal with the corrupt, dishonest EU”

    If the UK wants a transition arangement, this requires the agreement of the 27 members of the EU. The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019 because of Article 50; if there is no transition agreement, the UK will be out. Pre-existing agreements will cease.

    Curiously, the EU will introduce new money laundering and tax evasion rules etc on 1 April 2019. If the UK isn’t in the EU then, the UK will be free to conduct its shady financial dealings through the Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies unhindered by the EU.

    And presumably the Barbary Apes will have left.

      1. Yes, ‘out means out’ and that means no agreements of any sort whatsoever. So you can send all the EU migrant workers away, and welcome back all the OAPs from the Costa del fish’n’chips whose EHICs no longer work. Clacton, anyone?

        1. Aww, You thought I didn’t know I don’t know about the Costa del whatsit I’ve never been there. I have been to Clacton many years ago I like it very much it was a bit like the east end on sea, mind you so was Margate…

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