7 Singham, Shanker, How to fix the Irish Border problem, 19 March 2018, available on capx.co/how-to-fix-the-irish-border-problem. See also Hayward, K., How to fix the Irish Border problem, 7 April 2018, blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2018/04/07/how-not-to-fix-the-irish-border-problem/. This is sometimes referred to as the “wto-only Brexit”, because the UK would then only trade with the EU according to the rules of the World Trade Organisation. In the absence of a trade agreement, the subsequent combination of full-fledged customs and regulatory controls at the EU-UK borders, as well as the application of tariffs and quotas to many products, could lead to serious disruptions. After the British Parliament voted to leave the European Union, all sides said they wanted to avoid a hard border in Ireland, not only because of the historically sensitive nature of the border. Border issues were one of the three areas of the concentrated negotiations of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement. After the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 31 January 2020, this border is also the border between the EU and a third country. The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement obliges the UK to maintain an open border in Ireland, so that (in many ways) the de facto border is the Irish Sea between the two islands. The protocol on Northern Ireland negotiated by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last October is part of the withdrawal agreement (which some have called a “divorce agreement”) with which the UK saw the EU leave on 31 January 2020. 5 For anyone attempting to describe the Irish border as it is today, the exercise is very similar to the description of an internal European border. The Irish border looks and functions like any intra-European border that liberates goods, services, capital and population.2 However, unlike other European borders, the situation on the island of Ireland is not the only result of London and Dublin`s accession to the EEC/EU since 1973. It is first and foremost the result of a political compromise between the two Irish communities and between the two sovereign states enshrined in the GFA.
Until the 1998 peace settlement and although the two sovereign states were EEC/EU member states, the Irish border had remained very different from other European borders. .