Theresa May’s aim of free trade with the EU outside the single market is the way to avoid a hard border. The Irish should start lobbying their EU partners now.

We will put our precious Union at the heart of what we do.. We will strengthen our relationship between the four nations of the UK..   I hope for the same spirit of unity, especially in Northern Ireland and that the parties will establish a new relationship as soon as possible..  The devolved administrations will be fully engaged (in the Brexit process). That is why we have set up a joint ministerial committee..

We have received papers from Scotland and Wales… I look forward to working with the devolved Administrations to deliver a Brexit that works well for all the UK..

( With the Republic), maintaining the common travel area will be a priority to deliver a practical solution  as quickly as possible to the question of the land Border and freedom of movement with the Irish State. Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past,.

The family ties and bonds of affection that unite our two countries mean that there will always be a special relationship between us… Maintaining the common travel area with the Republic would be “an important part of the talks”.

That’s the rhetoric, what about the substance?

After the soft words about working with the devolved administrations, a sting in the tail.  While the right division of powers sent back from Brussels had to be made between Westminster on the one hand, and Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and  Stormont  on the other, and none of them would lose powers, “ new barriers should not be created within our own Union.”

This rules out some kind of associated status with the EU for Scotland and Northern Ireland – as  Nicola Sturgeon has noted, declaring  that “another vote on independence was “all but inevitable”. She believed that Scotland should be able to choose a “different future” to the one outlined by Mrs May. Sinn Fein and the SDLP  will not be pleased but they will hardly be surprised.

The big point Mrs May wants to get across is that leaving the single market and full membership of the customs union will be followed by a bespoke deal that means achieving the goal  of free trade not only with the EU but the rest  the world. It implies having her cake and eating it, a tall order she nevertheless seems to be going for. And she therefore  wants finally to put to rest the terms “Hard” or Soft “Brexit.”

This hasn’t prevented confusion from breaking out; for example Sinn Fein  quick on the draw declares it a Hard Brexit which creates a hard border on the island of Ireland whereas   Keir Starmer, the shadow  Brexit secretary has declared she has avoided a hard Brexit. Some of his Labour colleagues disagree.

Her aim of  a  “a completely new customs agreement” which might mean associated membership of the EU customs union or signing up to some elements of it is challenged by some as illegal under World Trade Organisation rules and requiring a free trade agreement with the EU by others. The latter is  surely is central to her purpose. “We want tariff free trade with the EU to be as frictionless as possible.”

However complete clarity remains elusive.   Ken Clarke veteran Europhile and former chancellor declared:

(Mrs May and the Brexit secretary David Davis speaking in the Commons)  were particularly confusing about what we are going to do about access to the single market and membership of the customs union. I listened to David Davis as well as Theresa May and I am none the wiser – and I don’t think either of them are either.

Ireland will welcome a transitional deal or “phased implementation”  as she puts it.  As the Irish Times reports, Dublin will have lots of  questions and will not take her assurances at face value.  But as these must also be addressed to their EU26 fellow members as well as the British, the logic of the British position and Irish interests alike  means they had better start lobbying  their partners  to strike a free trade deal with Britain..

 

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  • Jag

    “We will always want immigration, especially high-skilled immigration, we will always want immigration from Europe, and we will always welcome individual migrants as friends. But the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.”

    In order to control people coming into Britain from the EU (which includes the Republic of Ireland), immigration control will be required at the Border. So, if you’re travelling by train, there’ll be immigration desks at Newry, Portadown, Belfast and ditto at Dundalk, Drogheda and Dublin. You’ll need show your passport and in the Republic, you will need a visa if you have a British passport. That’s a hard border.

  • Fear Éireannach

    She may well get tariff free trade on a range of manufactured products. However, I wouldn’t become too complacent in NI, as this deal is very unlikely to include agriculture. Nor will it include all the mutual recognition of services and standards inherent in the single market.

    This is huge mess for NI and Sammy Wilson style declarations that it will all work out are not helpful. Will the company that supplies Sligo hospital with medical supplies be able to tender for the same service in Enniskillen hospital and send its van with its Polish driver there to deliver the goods without any further paperwork?

  • Fear Éireannach

    There won’t be such a border at the border, as such a thing would be useless and May specifically proposed to retain the CTA, so talk of needing a visa if you have a British passport is nonsense.
    There may be checks at Belfast airport or Stranraer.

  • Redstar

    With 51% of NI exports going to the EU and if we end up relying on WTO trade deals- 47% on milk, 40% on beef etc it would hammer a large sector of the local economy

  • Ernekid

    I feel sorry for the poor bastards who’ll be hired to man the new Customs posts in South Armagh.

  • Ernekid

    I’m just off the train from Dublin. If they asked to see my passport I would have told them to go hell.

  • Jag

    Is you a Romanian? 😉

  • lizmcneill

    Hope you like milk, English people. Drink up!

  • Jag

    So, a Romanian flies from Romanianland (in the EU) to Dublin (also in the EU) and then the Romanian gets a bus from Dublin airport to Connolly rail station in Dublin city centre and catches a train from Dublin to Newry.

    That immigration desk at Belfast airport or Stranraer won’t be much good!

  • Fear Éireannach

    Teresa May could not care less how many Romanians go to Newry, as long as they do not go to England.

  • lizmcneill

    Neither will an immigration desk in Newry if they come via Crossmaglen.

  • Jag

    Spot on! So, all the roads, the rail, air, even the River Castleway from Dundalk to south Armagh (what do you call a Romanian in a kayak?) will need immigration controls. And what about those hikers in Riverdale walking northwards….

  • NMS

    Frontex job http://frontex.europa.eu The European Border Force will be in place by then, (HQ Warsaw) & staffed by Poles with guns. Shooting UKs from Crossmaglen will be no problem to them.

  • Fear Éireannach

    While your fanciful ideas about a EU Border force are amusing, shooting people who might shoot back is always something of a problem.

  • NMS

    The EU has Dr. Merkel, Mr Tusk & others have pointed out is a rules based structure. Mrs. May’s requirements/wishes fall outside the rules & she is unlikely to get much.

    Janan Ganesh has a very good column in today’s FT (£) https://www.ft.com/content/7c5b47c0-dbd9-11e6-86ac-f253db7791c6 to quote the last two paragraphs

    “If belief in the EU’s transience were confined to a sect of conservatives who, emotionally, never left university, it would be benign enough. But it addles the thoughts of people who matter. There are ministers and advisers who, pushed in private on the exit details, on the potential snags for trade, resort to the hope the EU will solve the problem by disappearing. Teleology is infectious as it saves you from thinking too hard.

    Hugo Young captured an older version of this mentality in This Blessed Plot, his 1998 history of Britain and the EU. London’s slightly arch elite could never believe the Europeans were serious about this fly-by-night plan for integration. The coal and steel community, the Common Market, the single currency: at every stage there was amused British disbelief, and therefore British unpreparedness. Bet against the EU if you will, but not with your foreign policy.”

    The late Hugo Young’s book remains a key to explaining the UK problem with the EU.

  • Brian Walker

    You’ve all had a lovely time working up a lather in this thread. I suggest a big jug of gluewein to help you all calm down!

  • Jag

    Gluhwein? Sounds foreign. Can I see your identity papers Mr Walker, or should I say Herr Walker?

  • NMS

    Lots of heavily armed Poles doing their European duty against smuggling and with no links to the natives will be a different ball game.

    I make the point only to show how everything has changed. The UK leaving the EU will not be a return to the old days, rather it becomes the border of the largest trading bloc in the world.

  • Fear Éireannach

    No such Poles will be deployed in either part of Ireland, as you well know.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Some here are on some sort of glue product.

  • NMS

    Brian, her wishes are not feasible, in that sense an internal island option is not possible, nor can there be bilateral discussions. Internal passports inside the UK? Remember internal exile to UKNI?

  • Ernekid

    They’d want to be paid some serious danger money if they are going to wage a Guerilla war.

  • NMS

    It is unlikely that the UK will be deploying them as the UK won’t be in the EU, but once Frontex takes over, the security of the EU’s border will no longer be a specifically Irish area of competency. As their website advises

    “Frontex’s tasks include:

    Deploying European Border and Coast Guard teams, including a rapid reaction pool for joint operations and rapid border interventions and within the framework of the migration management support teams. “

  • NMS

    They already face down some serious people smugglers.

  • NMS

    I was going to suggest an old German method of making glue…

  • lizmcneill

    Most of the British Army didn’t have ties to South Armagh either. They still got tired of being shot at.

  • Fear Éireannach

    These people will not be invited to come to Ireland, just as they will not be invited to police the Sweden Norway border, or the Austrian-Swiss one.

    But then perhaps there will be flying saucers too.

  • lizmcneill

    Ireland will be all set for a hostile invasion of Orangemen, then!

  • lizmcneill

    The Estonian border, now…

  • Katyusha

    You make it sound like the SAS and other British units deployed in South Armagh had some kind of “link to the natives”, which is a feverish partitionist delusion.

    If people wish to smuggle, they will smuggle, and if they wish to attack a border post there will be little to stop them. Even when the British Army poured troops into S. Armagh they still couldn’t establish any kind of control over the place. No border force will be able to mount the same kind of operations, and it certainly won’t be a popular posting for anyone sent to man the godforsaken western frontier of the EU.

  • hgreen

    That’s nonsense. The only check required will be by employers when someone wants to get a job.

  • NMS

    Norway is in the EEA……………..

  • NMS

    Absolutely correct, Liz.

  • hgreen

    What you mean just like an American or Canadian tourist.

  • NMS

    Smuggling will always be an issue and the handling of Customs affairs will be the responsibility of the Revenue Commissioners on behalf of the Commission.

    However the security of the EU’s borders are a separate issue. Frontex was located in Eastern Europe because that is where the main border areas are. It was never envisaged that there would be EU borders again in Western Europe.

    I can only imagine there will be queues to come to Ireland, as EU pay scales are calculated using multipliers dependent on local conditions. Also wading waist deep in snow on the Ukrainian border versus Ireland for a multiple of the money!

    However to quote again;

    “Frontex’s tasks include:

    Deploying European Border and Coast Guard teams, including a rapid reaction pool for joint operations and rapid border interventions and within the framework of the migration management support teams. “

  • Fear Éireannach

    Please stop wasting time of this thread with nonsense about Frontex. This is essentially concerned with the boundaries of Schengen, not the EU, where there is a likelihood of the flow of refugees etc. Flows of refugees from the Britain into Ireland is not likely to be a major problem and even if they somehow get to Ireland they would face further control to reach the other parts of the EU. So the EU could not care less in general about people crossing between both parts of Ireland and will have no interest in their regulation.

    Really, this Brexit raises enough serious issues without people making it up, but any attempt at discussion gets derailed by nonsense posts.

  • Zorin001

    So never mind Globalisation, increased Automation and the near impossibility of controlling trans-national capital; the economies in the tank because of them damn foreigners.

    Simply cut the numbers and we will have manufacturing back, jobs for all and it will only rain at night. Why did no-one tell us it was so simple!

  • Jag

    If that were so, the UK wouldn’t need immigration controls now. And, as regards employment, isn’t the concern in the UK right now that undocumented migrants are working “off books”, cash-in-hand.

  • Jag

    Just be clear about the use of Romanian to illustrate the point: of the EU27 countries, the British public appears to be most concerned about Romanian immigration because of a perception of criminality and anti-social behaviour. Poles, Hungarians, Slovenians and Bulgarians don’t have the same stigma. Anyone who’s spent time in Romania or has had professional dealings with Romanians knows that reputation is not merited.

    Also, I am reminded of an incident in Dublin a decade ago when a gang of local langers (you’d say “spides” in Belfast) racially abused a couple on a Dublin bus because they thought they were speaking Romanian, when in fact the couple was speaking Gaelic.

  • Jag

    Common travel area between an EU country and a non-EU country?

    (a) The EU won’t allow it
    (b) a CTA would mean EU citizens can travel to Ireland and then on into the UK, thereby defeating the aim of the UK taking back control of its borders from the EU.

  • lizmcneill

    Point b) could be dealt with by checks at the airport as no self-respecting immigrant would attempt to come to a post-Brexit NI when they were already in Ireland.
    For point a), most of those travelling between NI and the south are Irish citizens resident in one or the other anyway. Some kind of free tourist visa waiver for the British might be applied to GB residents.

  • lizmcneill

    There are Brits in Crossmaglen? News to me!

  • Jag

    Why would a self-respecting immigrant want to come to post-Brexit UK? Employment, NHS, education, standard of living? They all apply to NI as much as to GB.

    The EU doesn’t allow member countries do visa waivers. No exceptions.

    What we all fear is a hard border like that which exists between Spain and Gibraltar, with aggressive Spanish guards giving everyone a hard time for supporting Gilbraltar. It won’t all be bad news. There’ll be a boom of duty free shops along the border, buy your ciggies and booze duty free!

  • hotdogx

    My god ernekid, unionism has learned nothing from the troubles, god help the poor young lads they send. If the DUP come out on top inspite of all of this then we can say that the numbers game is the only one that matters!

  • hotdogx

    It looks like history will repeat itself, meanwhile the NAZIS in the DUP get re-elected

  • hotdogx

    I think this time if civil war happens the British will let it run its course.
    I’m terrified about this, all the worst possible scenarios have become true. We need to push for a UI as a plan to avoid all of this disaster.
    Guaranteed European membership in the event of reunification.
    Problem solved

  • lizmcneill

    The NI GPs are already threatening to resign, and NI has lower standard of living than either GB or more importantly Ireland.

    You don’t need a visa to visit the UK or Ireland as a tourist from the USA, for example.

    Duty free shops? More like Armalite and Chinooks. The Irish border is 400 times the length of the Gibralter one and trying to lock it down didn’t work last time.

  • hotdogx

    Funny we’re back to the same thing that closed the Sligo eniskillen line
    Border posts & dilusional unionist business & transport strategy.

  • hotdogx

    Yeah! It’s a hard border and that’s it. The dictators in Britain always get what they want

  • hotdogx

    Correct! Well said

  • hotdogx

    Bw, we are all as angry as hell, we are about to spin out of control and unionism will make sure we hit the wall! And there’s nothing we can do about it. They are holding all the keys because normal people don’t come out to vote.

  • nilehenri

    the notion that ireland or the eu should, or is willing, to give the uk a hand and effectively undermine their own situation is the most ridiculous of brexiter ideas. the pointless futility of the demand is lost upon them. major european leaders openly pooh-poohed mrs bealtaine’s ideas as fast as she produced them.
    the only hope for the english is if someone pipes up with some common sense and puts a stop to the whole show; as this is highly unlikely i fear that we can only wish them the best as they totter around in their own cloud of incompetence, incredulity and patheticness.

  • Obelisk

    Bring manufacturing back? And undo part of sacred Thatcher’s legacy?

  • Neil

    Theresa May’s aim of free trade with the EU outside the single market is the way to avoid a hard border. The Irish should start lobbying their EU partners now.

    Indeed they should. They should lobby the EU to provide mitigation as comprehensive as is possible to make up for any shortfall to Ireland’s economy as a result of Brexit (which should be easily doable given the EU’s mammoth population), while Ireland should make clear their intention to restore articles 2 & 3 of the Irish constitution should Britain renege on it’s obligations with respect to the GFA.

    Finally they should fall in line with the EU in the intention to make Brexit as painful as humanly possible for Britain and NI, with the stated objective of demonstrating to those of us in NI that should we choose to reunify that the EU will assist in every way it can to rebalance our economy, protect all of our rights, especially those of the Unionist population and that unification lead to a better economic life for every person north of the border.

  • Brian Walker

    No reason for complacency but we’ve been in worse jams before. To a great extent the fears of disaster are self fulfilling. We have a basic peace, some economic growth and metropolitan centres that are reconciled. To a great exent the political class lag behind public opinion and are fightiing battles that are mainly over. As so often though, the silent, or less political, majority lack a coherent position to gather round. But society will manage and carry on with the rest of life.

  • Brian Walker

    Indeed a purely bilateral deal can’ t happen. But a successful Brexit with near free trade and immigration control mainly away from the border would translate into a workable Irish solution. But bilateral discussions can and will happen I’m quite sure, whatever the purists on the continent may say. Don’ t be so negative!

  • Brian Walker

    Ganesh follows Young as a briiliantly original political thinker..

  • hgreen

    Nope. The biggest issue is legal immigration undercutting local wage levels.

  • hotdogx

    Brian, I’m sorry but I don’t share your enthusiasm Teresa May has a huge ego problem, she thinks the world revolves around her and Britain, she thinks that she can leave the EU and still keep access to it.
    She thinks she can keep open borders with the republic she’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes, so that we all go back to sleep, War will break out here when diplomacy fails as Britain and Ireland find themselves on opposite sides of the table. We will take to different economic paths. The northern peace process will be abandoned through lack of interest.

    Then on top of all of that we have that unelected idiot appointed viceroy Brokenshire who reopens up the foyle border debate. Obviously he has known right for the beginning about the depth of this crash-out Brexit.

    Britain has now laid threats on Brussels and the kick up the arse they get in response will effect Ireland, as Britain adopts desperate tax haven like behavior to try and crawl back financially, Ireland could be hit here again.

    Britain will be punished for this by the 27 and she will find herself quite isolated.

    Next there’s the DUP if returned with Arlene as FM and largest party, it is clear to anyone who identifies as Irish that it is impossible to do any business with the DUP NAZIS. And they actually defend their untenable position.

    Will nationalists come out to vote? This is only game changer left.

    In any event we will see the Union Jack fly over a wasteland NI at the expense of all here, but unionists will keep voting to keep it in place.

    We are now faced with a non EU international border inside Ireland. None of this is bothering you?

  • Fred Johnson

    The British and the Unionists would love to maintain the fiction that
    Ireland is joined at the hip to the UK, and better be deferential as a
    result.

    Facts are only 14% of Irish exports go to the UK. Ireland
    is competing with the likes of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore and
    Hong Kong for multinational investment, and spending enormous capital
    trying to get its farm products into China and the US.

    The Brits are just these weird neighbours with an attitude problem that directly
    stems from Empire. It’s going to hit them soon that they are just a
    medium sized nation inside the global multinational supply chain.
    Nothing more and nothing less.

  • USA

    a. The Europeans might permit it if the Irish also lobby for it. It may be the only concession the British get.
    b. That is why it is much more likely there will be ID (border) checks at points of entry into Britain from anywhere in Ireland. A CTA does not mean people can travel without papers, it just means with the correct papers you are allowed to travel and work freely. The DUP should have thought this one through. They supported the Tory austerity and Brexit plans, but it will cost them at the ballot box when DUP voters have to produce ID when they arrive in Scotland.

  • Reader

    Ernekid: I feel sorry for the poor bastards who’ll be hired to man the new Customs posts in South Armagh.
    The customs posts, if any, will be on the southern side of the border.
    Don’t you get it yet? The EU can’t compel the UK to impose customs checks and tariffs. The EU could compel the RoI to do so.

  • Reader

    lizmcneill: Hope you like milk, English people. Drink up!
    The obvious thing for the UK to do is to expand their own dairy processing industry (reducing dairy imports), or to cut agricultural subsidies and produce something else entirely.
    Do you have any serious advice on how to proceed?

  • lizmcneill

    Serious advice based on May’s probably impossible plan? No. My advice would be to stay in the single market, nobody voted to leave that.

    She wants an open border with Ireland, but control of EU immigration? Leave the single market, but have tariff-free trade with the EU? How can it be both?

  • John Collins

    Well GB could do what Ireland did about 110/130 years and get rid of the big landlords. Four titled families own the entire county of Norfolk or so I was told, during a visit to Sandingham-we West Limerick people often drop in for a cup of tea and an ‘auld natter’ with Lizzie.
    British Governments could also start to show a little more respect for farmers and their representatives. It is a well known fact that Ian Paisley (Senior) used to approach ROI Ag Ministers for help when he was making representations to EU,on behalf of NI farmers. He had obviously no faith in GB Ag Ministers to pursue the interests of their own farmers effectively.

  • Fred Johnson

    The EU can compel the UK to do whatever it wants, if the UK wants a trade deal. I assume you want some sort of trading relationship with the EU? Or is it all out impoverishment you’re going for?

  • john millar

    “So, a Romanian flies from Romanianland (in the EU) to Dublin (also in the EU) and then the Romanian gets a bus from Dublin airport to Connolly rail station in Dublin city centre and catches a train from Dublin to Newry.”

    Has the poor Romanian not got enough problems without going to Newry?