The UK and the EU find it easier to disagree than to compromise on Northern Ireland
The author is a consultant for the consulting company Global Counsel, and theresa May’s special consultant for European issues
There is a truce between the UK and the EU Sausage warThe extension of the grace period for frozen meat from the UK to Northern Ireland has bought time to find a solution. It is unlikely to be used successfully.It involves a part of the world Lack of luxury Use war as a metaphor for trade disputes.
This Northern Ireland Agreement It is a legally binding international instrument. Unfortunately, it is also a Brexit unicorn. We can identify three types of such unreal creatures.
The first type is a whimsical proposal, because the other party will never accept them. These include the idea of ??previous British governments asking the European Union to accept the imperfect implementation of its single market rules. For this reason, they have nowhere to go.
The second is the proposal Technically not feasibleThe most memorable thing I heard while working for Theresa May’s government was that the border in Northern Ireland was monitored by drones. Technical challenges aside, border communities are unlikely to welcome the buzzing of flying cameras day and night.
Third, some suggestions can be negotiated and are technically feasible, but they cannot be implemented on the ground. This agreement is such a unicorn, and both parties should know. By creating obvious obstacles, it undermines the sense of British identity in the trade union community, and it feels like a violation of the 1998 peace agreement. The Boris Johnson administration is now hesitant to implement their agreement, at least in part because of fear of the consequences.
The government has repeatedly denied the legal and practical consequences of the treaty, which exposed guilt. It also points out the malice in implementing it.One Can’t tell the truth About what it did and why it made this government an unconvincing advocate of changing the agreement. It gives the EU no reason to believe what it says.
When British ministers talked about The risk of civil unrest, They are thought to be crying wolves. The worst motive was blamed: the British government did not alert the EU to Northern Ireland’s dissatisfaction, but encouraged it.When impolite habits are added to doubtThe EU does not believe the ministers’ explanation that their choice is to choose between raising tensions in Northern Ireland or taking unilateral action (if necessary) to preemptively.
As for the European Union, it just hopes that the content agreed in the agreement will be implemented. But the world is not that simple. If the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland poses a threat to the peace process, then the same logic applies to the border between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. The stated purpose of the agreement—maintaining the Belfast/Good Friday agreement—and its actual terms are only partially consistent.
No kind of Brexit is Helpful for Northern Ireland, But it can be tolerated. To this end, the agreement must be accepted by both the trade union and the nationalist community. Both the United Kingdom and the European Union rejected each other’s suggestions for improvement.
The UK requires the EU to adopt a risk-based approach to goods shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland instead of the EU. The EU is worried about this precedent. However, leaving aside trivial exceptions, nowhere else does the border of the single market pass through countries outside the EU. It is closely linked to the delicate peace process.
The EU recommends that the UK and the EU agri-food regulations be consistent. This will eliminate some painful parts of the UK-Northern Ireland border and will benefit all agricultural trade between the UK and the EU. But this actually means accepting the rules.
The EU has many things: peace projects, tools for prosperity, and means to empower member states collectively. It achieves these through interdependence.Brexit seeks independence for the UK, but Northern Ireland alone means Thoughts of complete rest It is the biggest unicorn.
Independent can work from a distance. The difficulty is that the EU provides a certain degree of reliance on neighboring countries that want or need to create public goods through closer relationships but refuse to join. As the Swiss debate shows, This makes a difficult choice.
The ideological cost of both parties to resolve the Northern Ireland issue is too high for the other party. Everyone believes that it can politically bear the pain of any punishment that the other party may impose due to continued disagreements. Each party is more worried about giving the other party free concessions instead of jointly promoting the peace process.
Persistent differences seem to be easier than the principle of compromise, which may turn unicorns into real solutions. Therefore, the UK and the EU are likely to use the grace period to continue throwing stones at each other. The longer they do it, the more likely it is to throw stones in Northern Ireland.