The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and how it will operate, is one of the three main areas of discussion in the first phase of Brexit negotiations . This paper sets out the different UK and EU negotiating positions as well as how they both pledge to honour the Good Friday Agreement, and what this pledge commits both sides to. It looks at how the Northern Irish devolved government is inputting into the talks, and how the confidence and supply deal between the Conservative party and the DUP might impact on the negotiations. This paper explores how people will move between the two countries, and how the Common Travel Area might be maintained. It also looks at the complexities of avoiding a 'hard border', the stated position of both the EU and the UK, while still adhering to EU rules on moving goods between itself and countries outside the Single Market and Customs Union.Jump to full report >>
Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU have begun.
The first phase of negotiations will attempt to find agreement on three main issues, the UK’s financial settlement, citizens’ rights and how the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will operate. The focus of this paper is this latter issue.
The European Union and the United Kingdom agree on the principles of how the border should operate post-Brexit. They both support:
The European Union wants to ensure that such arrangements are still compatible with EU law, which is why it has suggested “flexible and imaginative solutions will be required.”
Because of the legacy of the Northern Irish Troubles, both the EU and the UK are keen to come to an agreement, and think flexibly and creatively about solutions to the problems created by the UK’s withdrawal. This suggests there is an amount of goodwill on both sides.
However, the Northern Irish border is very complex and probably the most wide-ranging of the three principal areas being discussed in the first round of the Brexit negotiations.
This complexity derives from four main areas:
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8042
Authors: John Curtis; Paul Bowers; Terry McGuinness; Dominic Webb
Topics: Agriculture, Criminal law, Devolution, EU external relations, EU institutions, EU law and treaties, Europe, Immigration, International economic relations, International law, International trade, Nationality, Northern Ireland Assembly, Political parties, Standards