Former cabinet ministers in Ireland sometimes have their uses. Alan Shatter does a decent job in laying out what faces the UK and her neighbours in the Brexit process. I’d pick out three points in particular:
Firstly, don’t expect that this pristine two year period to take two years and no more….
The complexities involved in Britain’s exit together with the British government’s and the Brexiteers’ complete lack of advance planning may make the need to consider such extension inevitable.
On the other hand, the scheduled European elections, the desire of the remaining EU 27 when appointing a new European Commission to leave Britain out of the mix and the objective of preventing political paralysis in EU decision-making should incentivise progress.
And two, whether the border comes back, or not, depends on the nature of the general deal…
If, immediately following Brexit, free trade is not agreed between Britain and the EU, border controls will be required not just to check people travelling but to ensure compliance with trade tariff rules.
And three, beware the drift over time…
May has asserted that post-Brexit she envisages continued co-operation between Britain and the EU in fighting crime and international terrorism. That is as it should be but the road ahead will not be smooth if following Brexit laws currently harmonised diverge.
A great repeal Act is to come before the Westminster Parliament preserving existing EU law as part of British (and presumably Northern Irish) law following Brexit while enabling such laws to be amended, revoked or replaced by domestic British law.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty