European Parliament rejects proposal to grant Northern Ireland special EU status out of hand

This is probably an important straw in the wind in terms of what’s practical. An amendment aimed at granting Northern Ireland special status and moved by GUE/NGL (of which Sinn Fein is a constituent member) was defeated by 374 votes to 66.

In the event of a successful negotiation of Article 50, the more likely adjustments are likely to be needed on the Republic’s side to allow them exemptions from EU laws, funding streams and trade restrictions to allow for continuing trade (and not just N/S but E/W too).

If that’s any indication of how sovereign governments are thinking, then those pushing for NI special status would need to check their reality bases tout suite.

  • Nevin

    A Sinn Féin statement said: “The outcome of (Wednesday’s) vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg is disappointing. This amendment was not put forward by Sinn Féin.

    “It is equally disappointing that both the DUP and Fine Gael MEPs voted against the democratically expressed will of the people of the north and Dail Eireann. .. Irish Examiner

  • David Crookes

    Has Mr Bassett’s scenario suddenly become more credible?

  • Old Mortality

    I don’t think so. NI is among the least of their worries over Brexit.

  • Georgie Best

    I doubt if this vote means anything of any importance. The vote against it likely reflected an immature proposal as much as anything else. This matter will be decided elsewhere.

  • Roger

    ‘people of the north’…does that include Sweden?

  • Granni Trixie

    I think the decisiveness of the vote is a message in itself.

  • Neiltoo

    As SF say they did not put forward the amendment, are there lots of other groups/parties in Strasbourg that refer to N. Ireland as ‘the North of Ireland’?

    https://twitter.com/SJAMcBride/status/882606262214590465/photo/1

  • Nevin

    I think the lower case n is probably an IE typo.

  • Reader

    Maybe the original draft of the amendment was translated from Greek to English by an EU Irish language interpreter with republican sympathies and no actual work to do?

  • Mike the First

    When exactly did the people of Northern Ireland “democratically express” their wish to have Northern Ireland “designated with a special status within the EU”.

    I remember a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU – I voted Remain as it happens. Did I miss the referendum on special status for NI?

  • Nevin

    They didn’t.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I don’t think it’s even on the agenda though – seems a nonsense really in the cold light of day

  • Barneyt

    Sf will self inflict if they stretch matters like this. It’s one thing saying the DUP signed up for the Irish language act as you can at least state they knew it was on the table and minimally within the spirit of the agreement. Suggesting the NI remainers equate to NI special status advocates is conjecture at least. Unionism in part would have voted remain and that’s not the same as “separating” Northern Ireland from the rest of the uk. However special status is a tactic rather than a proposal. Careful what you wish for as its likely it could entrench NI rather than usher in a gb/in divorce

  • Niall Eastwood

    I think it it time to repartition Ireland. The border I propose was considered by boundary commission in 1921 That is say start Ballykelly – all of antrim north down ards pennisula bits north armagh. belfast to be treated like Berlin in cold war era under joint international jurisdiction. NI created on head count the head count now changed- so not a matter of principle at stake-just practicalities. Advantages are end the nonsense that is NI it becomes North east Ireland- the areas returned to Irish sovereignty stay in EU and part of a growing proper nation. Those left in North east Ireland well can stay in 1690 failed socially economically politically statelet. Old problem new solution or re hash solution. And in another 100 years the eyes will open

  • Nevin

    I don’t think this proposal has any significance; UK v EU-27 is the main event and anything else will be swept to one side.

  • Georgie Best

    Hardly nonsense, rather a necessity. What do you propose for all the milk and other agricultural products that cross the border daily?

  • Roger

    Upper or lower case, it’s pretty ridiculous.

  • William Kinmont

    This fantasy statlet has come up before on here. I would be living within it and the idea of living in some sort of DUP califate appals me. Would it be so, would the people left in this area now vote along the sectarian divide what would the Dup be defending them from? Such a radical change in circumstance might force us to choose more pragmatic politicians to make the statelet work. perhaps instead of the Dups fantasy land we could be come a tourist hotspot with casinos and cheap alcohol we would have the Bushmills and Baileys factories afterall . It would save money on infrastucture what we have now would suffice . We would have a surplus of civil servants though.
    I dont for one moment support this idea just running with the fantasy to see if theres any fun in the debate.

  • William Kinmont

    This is the enigma of the EU for me whilst the idea of free trade and social ideals all make sense it has all become to complex and unweildy to function. There is no question that NI already has some sort of special status. We have the right to choose to be both Eu and brexit citizens. We will be a state who once was in the Eu but now isnt despite voting to remain. We have a border that has never been policed properly or peacefully. There are complex Eu laws at the minute, try to move a sheep from Newry to Dundalk legally and you will need about 30 pages of documentation and 7 civil servants.The cost to farmers financially is minimal per animal but the hastle and time delays mean that an awful lot sneak across as it is, add in a financial incentive and this trade will explode.
    The Eu cant of course give us special status as this would be unfair and trigger all sorts of other statelets to demand the same.
    I very much doubt the EU can deliver any sort of negotiated brexit as getting their states to all agree to any consessions will be impossible . With no agreed brexit or trade deal our little border will be very important and very lucrative.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Customs Union or Single Market

  • grumpy oul man

    Borders and trade are the main event, we have the only land border between Britain and the EU, we also have a international treaty which is built on the border being a line on a map.
    Add
    Sorry Nevin this is no sideshow, we are center stage on this one.

  • Georgie Best

    However May has said that the UK will not be in the Customs Union or Single Market, has she not?

  • Nevin

    Germany and the UK are the key players in the negotiation, not Ireland and definitely not Northern Ireland.

    The 1998 Agreement was a cynical Blair-Ahern arrangement to get the largely politically illiterate electorate to say YES. Before the ink was dry they did an appeasement side-deal with the paramilitaries – and holed the UUP and SDLP below the waterline. The godfathers were more or less given a free hand – so long as they confined their nefarious activities to Northern Ireland – and kept the smaller fry in order.

  • Nevin

    It’s a matter of custom and usage: I use the official political labels in political conversations but whatever is convenient/appropriate/informative in family history ones.

  • grumpy oul man

    “Germany and the UK are the key players in the negotiation, not Ireland and definitely not Northern Ireland.”
    the EU and UK are the main players, Germany is one of them.
    Ireland is a member of the EU and the closest thing Britain has as a friend and at the center of the whole thing.
    “The 1998 Agreement was a cynical Blair-Ahern arrangement to get the largely politically illiterate electorate to say YES”
    so its nice to see that you regard those who disagree with you as politically illiterate, but regardless of your disapproval the GFA IS a international agreement that will now have to be renegotiated if Britain cannot deliver the seamless border that it is obliged to under that agreement.
    If i was a unionist then i would be worried, I would be aware that every time unionists sat down to a new set of negotiations they lost ground.
    As for the Godfathers, the republican ones have gone but the loyalists one are still standing beside the DUP, so perhaps your community could maybe do something about that!

  • grumpy oul man

    within the last 24 hours, both the EU and Britain have said that is not possible!
    Any other Ideas?

  • grumpy oul man

    “Maybe the original draft of the amendment was translated from Greek to English by an EU Irish language interpreter with republican sympathies and no actual work to do”
    so a professional translating something is not doing any actual work!
    interesting, so you think they went to university to get a degree (at least) in one or more languages and work as interpreters are not actually working when interpreting, what you you define as “actual work” for a interpreter!
    and nice mixture of paranoia / insult to the professionalism of highly qualified people, very subtle!

  • grumpy oul man

    Upper or lower case, it’s pretty ridiculous.
    like “UKNI” is that the sort of thing you mean?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Perhaps we should wait until after the “exit” debacle has reduced the UK to the economic level of Roumania in order to simplify matters. At that point, after a proper head-count of those staunch Unionists determined to stick it out with the UK until the red cross parcels finally run out, we could probably earmark Rathlain as a large enough remnant of NI and draw the border just past the mouth of Ballycastle harbour.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, have you encountered Paul Johnston’s Quint Dalrymple Novels?

    http://www.paul-johnston.co.uk/pages/books/quint.htm

    Great minds think alike!

  • Nevin

    “As for the Godfathers, the republican ones have gone”

    Sinn Fein ‘undemocratic and still run by the IRA’, says Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin .. 6 February 2007

    Ireland is merely a pawn in the German-led EU-27 game. There’ll be no burning of bond holders, especially German ones.

  • Reader

    grumpy oul man: …so a professional translating something is not doing any actual work!
    The job of an Irish language interpreter would be to translate to and from Irish. Translating between Greek and English would merely be to keep his/her hand in while waiting for custom. It’s admirable that they make themselves useful.
    Anyway, if the document wasn’t translated into anglo-chuckie speak from a GUE/NGL language, then it was written in anglo-chuckie speak from the outset. My guess would be that SF did after all have a hand in its preparation, and therefore SF’s statement: “This amendment was not put forward by Sinn Féin.” was disingenuous at least.

  • epg_ie

    What does the directly elected European Parliament have to do with “how sovereign governments are thinking”?

    If there’s a deal at the highest levels, or not, then the Parliament will probably not vote it down based on NI either way.

  • Ruairi Murphy

    I know half of all this is perhaps tongue in cheek but repartition is never the answer.

  • William Kinmont

    i will have a look

  • grumpy oul man

    And as unionists moan that they get no respect, a unionist calls the irish language “chuckie” while making up a chain of events he has absolutely no proof off but fits into the mopery narritive that defines unionism.
    Different day, same bu*#%÷it.

  • grumpy oul man

    And of course Micheal produced proof, after all his party has no worrys about SF beating them at the poles.
    Really Nevin you are a bit loose with the concept of proof and i do love the way you never get excited about loyalist active criminal/terror gangs with links to the DUP.
    Nothing new there.
    Tis a pity the EU has that oul vote and veto thing sort of ruins your argument.

  • Nevin

    Only the ‘Friends of Gerry’ mention proof!

    The very notion that Leo would veto Angela is hilarious. PIIGS will fly.

  • grumpy oul man

    The friends if Gerry and don’t forget all those people who believe in keeping things truthful.
    But i suppose if you had any actual proof you wwould have produced it instead of shouting THEMMUNS.
    Im glad you find it halarious.
    Still nothing to say about the UDA/UVFs closeness to the DUP, after all it was you who brought up godfathers being facilitated.

  • Roger

    In the context of a discussion of an EU wide institution themed discussion, it’s pretty clear to me that ‘the north’ ain’t appropriate. If ever it is. Parochial yes. Appropriate no.

  • Roger

    Can’t see how UKNI is ridiculous. It’s an acronym that without undue verbiage says a lot and is quite correct.

  • Nevin

    “and don’t forget all those people who believe in keeping things truthful”

    I believe Gerry was being truthful when he praised those who participated in the post-1994 Athboy conspiracy and more recently in his ‘break the bastards’ speech; these comments weren’t intended for a public audience.

  • grumpy oul man

    Aw the Athboy conspricy theory again, i wondered when you would bring it up.
    Of course it has nothing to do with what we are discussing but what would a exchange with be like without it, and the equality thing, Nevin whataboutry and mopery all in one post.
    And still after bringing up godfathers you steadfastly refuse to discuss the loyalists and the DUP!
    Surely even you can’t be in so much denial .
    Or is it only Gerry upsets you and the fact that the largest unionist party is supported by murderers and drug dealers.
    Tell me Nevin has anybody ever believed your athboy conspricy theory, and whats your line on the moon landings, did they happen or did Gerry make them up.

  • grumpy oul man

    Roger it’s pretty silly.
    Is there another NI that you need to stick uk onto this one to make it clear what you are talking about.
    And why not UKDorset or UK Wales.
    Its a poltical point your making and as i say looks a bit silly.

  • Georfe Jungle

    “growing proper nation”

    What growing nations dump babies in septic tanks and deny’s abortions to an Indian Woman because “Ireland is a Catholic Country” resulting in he death ?

  • Devil Éire

    Yes, it’s ridiculous and not an acronym, but keep tilting at those windmills.

  • Accountant

    But we do want special status, but the capital letters have become a political football – what another ? – which will yet again cause us harm.

    It’s good that Special Status is dead, as it was another stupid Sinn Fein distraction. Now we can focus on getting a special status for NI. Sinn Fein needs to stop sulking about the failure of all its overly-ambitious dreams and start achieving some of the deliverable “soft border” outcomes.

    Let’s get the food/dairy sector across the island into a single market, let’s nail the CTA, let’s get NI companies designated as “special” authorised economic operators (which is currently reserved for companies in Single Market member states, but apparently could be on the table for NI with sufficient political pressing) – and let’s have ECJ jurisdiction to police these (and maybe guarantee GFA, etc.).

    Time for SF to stop dreaming (it’s not happening any time soon, guys) and start delivering for theit poor puppets who live in “the north”.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    indeed. But how far does her power go these days? We shall see

  • Roger

    Well I do use UKSCOT. I don’t tend to talk about Wales, UK much. But UKWLS why not. It certainly is a political point. Point being UKNI is a UK region. Not a stand alone anything.

  • Roger

    I think someone taught me it’s better called an initialism than an acronym, true enough. But ridiculous, how so?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I enjoyed the dry satire on Scots tropes which Paul indulges in writing about Quint. I have my own ideas about what a DUP or SF dystopia might develop into, and if I had a talent for fiction, might just be tempted to follow Paul’s lead. My biggest worry is that living amongst so many people who would appear to welcome such a state of affairs in practice, any such satire might just give them ideas.

  • Timothyhound

    The U.K. Is increasingly unlikely to make a clean break with the EU. The pharmaceutical and medicines sector for example would be decimated. They and the thousands of mostly English jobs they represent know that leaving the EU will be a disaster as pan EU research, markets, regulation and certification underpin the entire sector. This scenario is increasingly playing out across the British economy. The CBI is now directly challenging Theresa May (increasingly out of her depth and rudderless – the most useless PM in memory). As are the likes of Philip Hammond on issues such as the customs union. These are the issues which will determine the eventual status of Northern Ireland vis a vis the EU and by definition the Republic. Notwithstanding the DUPs ability to raid the cookie jar – they are economic illiterates. They voted to leave never once believing they would be on the “winning” side. Now that it’s happened they don’t know what to do other than speak in sound bites. The Conservatives are in open deep conflict with the British business community. The party will get onside with economic reality and over the years Brexit will become so diluted as not to be worth it.

  • Roger

    The U.K. isn’t in control. It’s not a radio dial they can adjust to their choosing. So far, and its early days, the U.K. has clearly and unambiguously rejected the 4 freedoms. The EU has spelled out that brings major consequences. There aren’t really years to talk about. There are 21 months and really, given lead times for ratification periods for 28 states, about 18 months.

  • Roger

    Complex and unwieldy to function…just wait until UK is out and its exporters to EU have to deal with EU rules plus new UK rules. Now that’s complex, unwieldy and won’t function quite as elegantly as the way the EU does. EU with world class success administers a market for half a billion people in 28 states. Complex, yes. Unwieldy, not compared to any alternative. Remarkably successfull, yes too.

  • Roger

    The country that’s established a tribunal to get to the bottom of the septic tank filled up long before most of its citizens were born and announced a referendum to legalize the termination of fetuses.

  • grumpy oul man

    So where is this other Scotland that you have to use UkScot to make sure we know which one we are refering too.
    Does anybody else use this clumsy moniker.

  • William Kinmont

    Read a bit of Body Politic last night, dont usually read novels but am enjoying the layers of thought . Think if you wrote similar set here it wouldnt qualify as fiction would be filed under technical publications or instruction manuals.

  • William Kinmont

    i am certainly not arguing the benefits of brexit am just expressing concern at whats to come agree re your points about now having 2,3 or 4 sets of standards or rules to meet.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Think if you wrote similar set here it wouldnt qualify as fiction would be filed under technical publications or instruction manuals.”

    Oh I know this all too well! It’s what inhibits me from giving people ideas!

  • William Kinmont

    yes keep down the good work

  • eamoncorbett

    According to the Justice Secretary, the Canadian model is now the most favoured, only one thing wrong with that, Canada didn’t leave the EU so that option may not be available.

  • grumpy oul man

    Don’t feed the trolls, they are like crocodiles, and keep coming back for more!

  • Georgie Best

    Indeed. As noted by a poster above the Tory party is now at odds with the business community, which is not usual territory for them. So special status may not be needed, which is not the same thing as agreeing that there should not be special status if it proves to be needed. A subsequent European parliament vote might be different if the British government does what it says it will do, rather than what it should do.

  • Roger

    Must disagree with you…suspect there is more than just that one thing wrong with the Canadian model. Canada has no land border with EU and its capital isn’t a hop and a skip from continental Europe.

    That said, I’m not much up to speed on what the Canada – EU model is. So maybe I’m wrong.

  • Roger

    I am in a small minority. Admitted.
    But clumsy, no. The reason for using UKSCOT and UKNI are, in essence, the same. It doesn’t have to do with confusion of the geographical kind that you mention. Rather confusion, so to speak, of the political kind as I said earlier.

  • mac tire

    Well, until 2019 you can use EUUK, EUENG, etc. Which could actually entail you using EUUKSCOT, EUUKNI, for now.

    And to be consistent, future references would include EUFRANCE, EUGER etc.
    It all appears so unnecessary, to be honest.

  • Roger

    Agree. Adding EU in is unnecessary. I’ve never suggested it nor UN for United Nations either.
    But the way UKNI is discussed on this website shows that the ‘UK’ addition to the ‘NI’ is well and truly warranted.

  • mac tire

    “‘break the bastards’ speech…comments weren’t intended for a public audience.”
    That was a public meeting, well advertised at the time. It was part of a number of public meetings held. I was at one before the Fermanagh one you reference. At the one I attended the network key of the venue was pointed out to attendees in case they wanted to tweet, put photos on Facebook etc.
    This meeting was so secret, so hidden from the public that The Impartial Reporter, which broke the story, was there. A meeting it called “public” in its report.

    *Rolls Eyes*

  • mac tire

    The way it is discussed warrants it?

  • grumpy oul man

    What confusion does it clear up?

  • Roger

    Just look at the way Brexit is discussed via-a-vis UKNI. There are many here who seem to think the region is an EU member-state. ‘Special status for Northern Ireland in the EU’ etc. There are plenty other examples too. It’s a UK region. Not a place that stands alone. UKNI, the initialism, brings that out.

  • GavBelfast

    Why little or no talk of ‘special status’ (or whatever words would be used and whatever it would exactly mean) for the REPUBLIC of Ireland, with specific regard to the United Kingdom – all of it? This is obviously a matter for Dublin to ponder, seek and negotiate, but would essentially solve the all-Ireland and East-West economy, the Common Travel Area, etc, and would basically leave things much as they are now between the two biggest trading relationships within the existing EU: between the RoI and the UK, and between the UK and the RoI.

    Given that there are all manner of ‘special status’ scenarios within the EU, within some members states of the EU, and between some regions of the EU states and non-EU states, this is entirely possible and would be helpful to both the RoI and the UK, NI in particular, but with sovereignties maintained and Brexit also proceeding without dividing the country into different, complicated regional arrangements.

    Of course, it also avoids a Trjoan all-Ireland horse, so might not appeal so much to some who seek ulterior constitutional objectives as opposed to protecting actual trade and mutually advantageous economic interests.

  • Roger

    Any confusion over how ridiculous notions like ‘special status for ‘the north’ within the EU’ etc. are

  • Roger

    Yes, as I’ve said other times, the initialism in question underlines how nonsensical notions like ‘special status for ‘the north’ within the EU’ are.

  • Reader

    grumpy oul man: And as unionists moan that they get no respect, a unionist calls the irish language “chuckie”
    Try again. Anglo-chuckie is a reference to the “North of Ireland” in what purports to be a serious EU document. The EU is well aware of the status of Northern Ireland as part of the UK. And so are any official EU interpreters.
    So – go on then – what “chain of events” are you proposing that inserts republican argot (is that better for you?) into an official EU document from GUE/NGL?

  • grumpy oul man

    I fail to see how it clears that up.

  • grumpy oul man

    But what confusion there is only one scotland and one NI so what poltical confusion are you talking about.

  • Nevin

    Thanks for the clarification. The ‘break the bastards’ jibe would be cheer-leading for a mainly SF audience – and at odds with the ‘reaching out to unionists’ message being delivered elsewhere.

  • grumpy oul man

    you should make these things clear, especially if you make a new phrase for something!
    So prove your theory that it was translated into Anglo-Chuckie by some Irish translator with republican tendency’s.
    of course it could be that the Greeks see NI as the north of Ireland,
    I know it doesn’t fit the standard mopery model but did you ever consider that not everything is a shinner plot.

  • Timothyhound

    Indeed but as there is no hope of meeting this timetable its increasingly likely that some extension or transition period will be agreed. In that context Brexit (whatever that is) will be diluted and delayed. All told its a mess of monumental proportions.

  • Roger

    I disagree. A ‘transition period’ requires a very substantive deal. It’s two words. Easy to say. Not so easy to define and then implement in a year and a half. Membership of EEA a la Norway; doable I’d say. Just about. If they articulated that aim and set their minds to achieving it straight away. But ‘transition period’. What does that even mean?

    I don’t see an extension on the cards either. EU wants to move on. Dragging this out beyond another 20 months doesn’t seem politically acceptable.

    What’s growing in likelihood as clock ticks, it seems to me, is a crash exit. The EU holds all the Aces. Not the U.K. This doesn’t seem to be accepted in the U.K. It all seems delusional to me.

    We live in interesting times.

  • Timothyhound

    Perhaps you’re right. But the economic impact of a hard Brexit is severe on both sides. Politicians have a habit of finding a way to kick the can down the road. Fact remains that there is no way of doing a deal in the time allotted. I have a sense that some people in Britain are waking up to the scale of the problem and are softening their opposition. But maybe I’m imagining it!

  • Roger

    economic impact will be severe on U.K. and Ireland. Maybe Netherlands too?
    There would be economic impact on others. Not sure it would really be severe.
    As for kicking the can…I remember the EU constitution died at ratification stage in France. Its alternative, Lisbon treaty, was delayed for months by Ireland. Haven’t looked at timetables but think that saga took much longer than 21 months.
    All that and bad outcome for UK being politically welcome for EU survivalists. ‘A lesson for others’. But of course, I don’t know the future. Don’t personally have much confidence that the politicians will conclude a proper deal.

  • Summerfell

    The EU is not that complex. Open a book.

  • William Kinmont

    Perhaps my experiences are atypical