Juncker and May must go on, the Brexit clock is ticking. And they do not have a solution to the question of the Ireland border, so they find a compromise: “We describe the problem and list what the solution must contain”. Without having the solution.

I do not want to be cynical. They must really go on, but of course they also know that the problem will be back in a couple of months and in the end the Brits must make an either/or decision: a hard border to the EU, yes or no. The chance that Brexit will never come about is increasing. Not very big but increasing. Here is the compromise:

49. The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the 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.

50. In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998 Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland. In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market.

 

Posted by Michel Reimon