|Author (Corporate)||European Commission: DG Communication|
|Series Title||Press Release|
|Series Details||IP/17/3105 (07.09.17)|
Background and further information:
The United Kingdom government had issued on the 16 August 2017 the second of a series of papers putting forward its negotiating position on the UK’s future partnership with the European Union (EU). It was published in the context of the negotiations being undertaken with the EU for the UK to leave the union following the Brexit referendum vote of June 2016.
This position paper on Northern Ireland and Ireland outlined the UK’s position on addressing the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and the land border with Ireland.
The position paper — which had been published ahead of the August 2017 negotiating round between the EU and UK — stated that the Government would protect the Common Travel Area (CTA) and associated rights for UK and Irish citizens, and put upholding the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement at the heart of its Exit negotiations.
The paper also put forward proposals on avoiding a hard border on the movement of goods — making clear the UK’s position that there should be no physical infrastructure at the border — and planned to preserve the wide range of institutional cooperation between Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain including for the energy market.
The Paper stated that the Good Friday Agreement should continue to be protected and strengthened in all its parts after the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. The continuation of the Common Travel Area, which facilitated the interaction of people in Ireland and the UK, should also be recognised.
Key issues included ensuring that:
+ the interlocking political institutions on the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, established by the Good Friday Agreement, continue to operate;
Given Ireland's unique situation in the Brexit negotiations, a unique solution was required.
In the first phase of the Brexit negotiations up to October 2017, the EU wished to reach a common understanding with the UK on the implications of its withdrawal for the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area. Once there was sufficient progress on the principles set out in the paper, discussions might move to the second phase of negotiations, which aimed to find flexible and imaginative solutions to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. These solutions must respect the proper functioning of the internal market and the Customs Union, as well the integrity and effectiveness of the EU's legal order.
As it was the UK's decision to leave the EU, it was the UK's responsibility to propose solutions in this regard.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Europe, Ireland, United Kingdom|