June 12, 2024
Brexit Held at the Border
The United Kingdom and the European Union each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other’s negotiating position.
The United Kingdom and the European Union each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other’s negotiating position.

In the last two days Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that Ireland temporarily leave the European Union to align with the economic rules of a post-Brexit U.K. German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested, somewhat flippantly, that the U.K. could figure out a special trading arrangement for itself and Ireland in the next 30 days. And French president Emmanuel Macron has said that there’s still room for negotiation between the U.K. and the EU, but he’s willing to be “the hard boy.” Maybe Macron is taking the EU marriage metaphor a little too personally . . .

What on earth is going on?

It’s been three years since a majority of the U.K.’s electorate voted to leave the European Union. And so far, all that Brexit has generated is a great deal of nearly incomprehensibly vocabulary. First we got Theresa May’s red lines, her attempt to define how it was exactly that Brexit means Brexit, and what the future relationship, if any, the United Kingdom would have with the EU. These red lines, an end to freedom of movement from EU member states into the U.K., and an exit from the EU’s customs union ruled out the Norway option but not Canada Plus Plus. Or Canada Plus Plus Plus. Yes, I’m serious.

According to the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May and the rest of the EU, that future relationship has to be figured out in the transition period. That’s a two-year window after the U.K. leaves the EU in which it would continue to follow EU rules until they came to a trade agreement. That is, unless there is a no-deal Brexit and the U.K. simply exits the European Union on October 31 and conducts business with the world based on World Trade Organization rules. Got it? Well, sort of.

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See Also:

(1) Boris Johnson wants Ireland to leave EU trade rules and form a new union with the UK after Brexit

(2) Tory MP waves 272 page secret report proving May’s deal was a complete farce

(3) Boris Johnson punches air in triumph after stubborn EU crumbles in face of no deal Brexit

(4) ‘German U-boats couldn’t do it’ Fiery Farage issues defiant message for Brussels

(5) Italy crisis: Salvini hints at coalition breakthrough – but only WITHOUT EU control

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