Cliquer iThe 29th March is fast approaching, the fateful day when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s future will change for better or for worse. The day we finally leave the European Union. The last months have seen debate after debate in the House of Commons, vote after vote, clashes between the parties, clashes within the parties, proposals, amendments, negotiations and a lot of trips to Brussels for Prime Minister Theresa May! But it seems nothing can be agreed. In January, a group of more than 200 members of parliament from all parties signed a letter to the Prime Minister, asking her to rule out a no-deal Brexit, a Brexit with no agreements in place concerning trade, customs, industry, education, defence and so much more. But despite this, there is still no deal yet.
The major sticking point is the border between two countries which share the same island: Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (a separate country which is still a member of the EU). Years of violent conflict and terrorism were finally ended in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Part of the agreement was to remove the security checks along the 310 mile border between Northern and Southern Ireland. It was an integral part of the peace agreement and the fact that both countries were within the EU made it so much easier. Every day, over 30,000 people freely cross the border for work, as well as huge amounts of goods and services. The economies of the two Irelands are completely interconnected.
So when Northern Ireland leaves the EU, what will happen to the border? Nobody wants to reintroduce a hard border with security checks and customs controls because this could result in a resurgence of the old conflict. As a result, the UK and the EU have agreed on a legal guarantee known as the backstop to prevent the reintroduction of a hard border at all costs. However, neither side is happy about the details of this guarantee: it gives Northern Ireland a different status which the Northern Irish do not want; it is a potential threat to the union of the United Kingdom which the UK Parliament does not want; and it keeps the UK in a single customs agreement temporarily until a solution can be found, which those wanting to leave the EU completely refuse to accept. But unless the UK Parliament can agree on the backstop, the EU refuses to ratify any Brexit deal.
So, at the time of writing, it seems we are in fact heading for what no-one wants, a no-deal Brexit. Does this mean that catastrophe is looming on the horizon? What are the implications of a no-deal Brexit? Well here are some possible consequences which are being put forward in the British press:
Only history will tell!ci pour modifier.
Philippa Stacey a fondé Eureka en 2007. Elle vit et enseigne l’anglais aux professionnels en France depuis 1993.