In this post we continue our commentary on the EU’s draft withdrawal agreement and consider a section of the draft withdrawal agreement that takes up the theme of Ireland. (See Part 1 for how to download the draft agreement.)
The Irish question is key to the ‘negotiations’ and has been weaponised against the UK as we shall show.
From the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (p.102)
There’s quite a lot of rubric, here are some highlights:
AFFIRMING that the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998 between the Government of the United Kingdom, the Government of Ireland and the other participants in the multi-party negotiations (the “1998 Agreement”), which is annexed to the British-Irish Agreement of the same date (the “British-Irish Agreement”), including its subsequent implementation agreements and arrangements, should be protected in all its parts; …
HIGHLIGHTING that discussions on the other scenarios may continue to be pursued in parallel, but that this Protocol is based on the third scenario of maintaining full alignment with those rules of the Union’s internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement, and that it applies unless and until an alternative arrangement implementing another scenario is agreed; …
DESIRING to create a common regulatory area on the island of Ireland in order to safeguard North- South cooperation, the all-island economy, and protect the 1998 Agreement; …
NOTING that Union law has provided a supporting framework to the provisions on Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity of the 1998 Agreement; …
They want us to believe that the EU played a significant part in the development of the Good Friday Agreement; they didn’t but they now want to use it against us.
Article 2 (p.104) Common Travel Area
- The United Kingdom shall ensure that the Common Travel Area and associated rights and privileges can continue to operate without affecting the obligations of Ireland under Union law, in particular with respect to free movement for Union citizens and their family members, irrespective of their nationality, to, from and within Ireland.
Article 3 (p. 104) Establishment of a common regulatory area
A common regulatory area comprising the Union and the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland is hereby established. The common regulatory area shall constitute an area without internal borders in which the free movement of goods is ensured and North-South cooperation protected in accordance with this Chapter.
Sneaky? You bet!
Article 6 (p.105) Single Electricity Market
The provisions of Union law governing wholesale electricity markets listed in Annex 2.7 to this Protocol shall apply to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.
The British regard Northern Ireland as a part of the UK. This, and several articles like it, seeks to impose Union law on the whole of the UK via Northern Ireland; this obviously cannot be accepted.
Article 11 (p. 107) Supervision and enforcement
- As regards Chapter III, the institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies of the Union shall in relation to the United Kingdom, and natural and legal persons residing or established in the territory of the United Kingdom, have the powers conferred upon them by Union law. In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction as provided for in the Treaties in this respect.
Not so much back to the future as forward to the past: Union treaties (will continue to) rule, OK.
Article 12 (p.107)
- The provisions of this Protocol referring to Union law or concepts or provisions thereof shall in their implementation and application be interpreted in conformity with the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Is this draft agreement the soft version of invading and annexing Crimea? No soldiers needed, just an army of committed bureaucrats.
This is clear from their threats to withhold all cooperation on intelligence and policing between the EU and UK, including anti-terrorist threats. Even if it doesn’t come to this it should never have been contemplated, it violates a primary duty of any government to protect its people. It also puts UK citizens at greater risk whereas the moral imperative should be to help protect lives, especially of allies.
The EU has weaponised the Irish border to defeat the British negotiators. It should be putting lives before tariffs and regulations by insisting, as the UK side has consistently done, that there will be no ‘hard border’ to spur terrorists, whatever else is agreed. Instead if we don’t cave in there will be blood and it will be our fault. That is worse than banal; they should be gracious enough to let us leave without death threats.
“Can one do evil without being evil?” asked Hannah Arendt, reporting after the trial of Adolph Eichmann for his role in transporting Jews across Europe to be murdered [Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil]. She regarded him as a rather bland bureaucrat though others disagree and found him to be a committed Nazi. Although unlikely to come within several orders of magnitude of the achievements of Eichmann the EU, especially its Commission, contains ideologically committed bureaucrats able to tolerate the risk of murder resulting from their dogmatic policies rather than acting to minimise those risks. If there is a way of applying pressure on the UK for daring to leave their sphere of control they will put that above ways of saving, let alone improving, lives.
[Below are some clips from and links to previous posts that touch on the Irish internal border issue.]
We recently commented on the Irish border ‘problem’ where, as usual, the EU seems to be awarding itself credit for others’ work. It had nothing to do with the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement but is intent on threatening the peace if that will help it to get its way.
The EU is choosing to make a big issue out of this in order to pressure the UK, meanwhile risking the peace and passing the blame onto Brexit supporters. That stinks. (from Shorties-15: Border Line or Red Line?)
Chief EU Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, is milking the Irish border issue, although ‘milking’ is scarcely the right word, ‘inflaming’ would be more appropriate. Fraternity is not in Barnier’s Brexit bag, nor are liberty or freedom; he embodies the worst of Gallic hypocrisy and hauteur.
Far from the claims of the anti-Brexit brigade, goods and people can cross borders smoothly after we leave the CU even if Brussels doesn’t dictate the future. The World Bank has reviewed 19 countries across the globe and found that, on average, only 2% of goods are physically checked at borders, with border control based mainly on intelligence.
Brussels and Barnier appear to want a watertight Irish border (impossible) rather than a water-resistant one as used to suffice (achievable); the Irish treat the border lightly even now where different taxes or rules apply in the two nations. (from Irish Troubles)
If you wanted an invisible, frictionless trade border between the UK and Ireland the best place to start would be where we are now with free trade and common regulatory standards. The EU has unilaterally decided that we cannot travel anywhere, or that Northern Ireland at least must stay in the Customs Union to avoid a Hard Border with customs checkpoints. It would also need to stay in the Single Market, in effect if not in name (‘full alignment’), and be subject to decisions of the European Court of Justice.
Which is worse a Hard Border or a Hard War? What would be the likely response of the UVF? Might it take up arms again and wouldn’t the IRA then respond? This is a ruthless, dangerous and despicable strategy of the EU, choosing to put the ‘integrity’ of its treaties ahead of peace and fair compromise. Meanwhile they blame the other side, the UK Government, for jeopardising the Good Friday Agreement.
A blanket refusal to put pragmatism before purity of the treaties in this case is further proof of the EU’s malign and anti-democratic intentions. The EU plans to continue its rule over the UK despite the peoples’ decision to leave. Or failing that it seeks to divide the UK. This is dangerous and imperialistic. We are astonished that well-informed Remainers are helping our adversaries to impose upon us. (from Divide or Rule?)