As Brexit Saga Enters New Phase, What's Next For Northern Ireland?

UK News

The disputed aspect of Brexit, and the UK being identified as 3rd country, remains the 300-mile border it shares with Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic

Written By Aanchal Nigam | Mumbai | Updated On:

Britain has officially left the half-a-century-old European Union membership on January 31 at 11:00 pm (local time) and now enters the 11-month transition period with the 27-nation bloc. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Britain's departure from the union as the end of the 'national political drama'. However, this is not the end of the saga as the most disputed aspect of the UK being identified as the third country remains the 300-mile border UK will share with the Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. 

Brexit has reportedly resulted in real divisions between the four nations that make up the UK and there are fears over the splits become permanent. While England and Wales voted to leave the bloc, Scotland and Northern Ireland opposed the decision. However, Johnson has assured that all four nations will be involved in the discussions that will take place during the transition period with the EU. 

Read - Chronology Of Brexit As The UK Leaves The European Union

Britain-Northern Ireland trade

Some people also carried out protests to send a message to the EU to keep an open space for Scotland. Most discussions have led to disagreements revolving around keeping an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The major issue remains the management of goods from Britain which will travel to Northern Ireland and carry the risk of moving into the EU through the Irish Republic. 

Under the proposed Brexit deal by Johnson, Northern Ireland will stay in the single market of goods in the union but Stormont, the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland, can vote to end the arrangement. After the transition period ends in December this year, the UK will not follow the bloc's rules of agriculture and manufactured goods, while Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU's laws.

Read - Brexit: Britain Leaves European Union, Leaps Into The Unknown

Similarly, Britain will leave the customs union, however, the EU customs procedures will still remain on the goods travelling to Northern Ireland from the UK in order to avoid checks at the Irish border. However, this plan has been criticised by the Stormont parties who believe that it would interfere with Britain's trade with Ireland.

The Brexit deal states four years after the end of the transition period, the assembly will reportedly have a say on whether the proposed arrangement should be continued and a vote of the straight majority will keep the arrangement unchanged for next four years. In case Stormont votes to end it, there would be a two-year notice period during which the UK and EU will negotiate ways to avoid a hard border. Meanwhile, parties in Stormont have also raised concerns about an increase in the division in the parties due to vote after every four years. 

Read - After Brexit: UK Leaves EU But What's Next Far From Certain

Read - Brexit Supporters Celebrate As UK Prepares To Leave EU

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