What Is the Backstop Agreement in Brexit

However, the legal opinion also stated that if no bad faith on the part of the EU could be proven, the instrument did not reduce the likelihood that the UK could remain in the backstop. A5: The backstop could be the official justification for the new British government to proceed with a no-deal Brexit. However, some MPs in favour of a no-deal Brexit have said that even if the backstop is removed, they will still not vote for the Withdrawal Agreement. The combination of a British government unable to obtain Parliament`s approval for the withdrawal agreement, a European Union reluctant to renegotiate the agreement and Boris Johnson`s trip to obtain a Conservative majority in what should be early elections to come (just before or after 31 October), made on the 31st. October at a “do or die” time – and an explosive recipe for a high-stakes chicken game. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is determined to “get rid of” the backstop, calling it “undemocratic”. The “Irish backstop” would come into force at the end of the transition period if the UK and the EU had failed to negotiate a future trade deal that would keep the Irish border as open as it is today. In July 2019, Theresa May resigned and Boris Johnson became prime minister, with Boris Johnson saying he wanted to replace the Irish backstop in the withdrawal agreement. [76] On August 19, in a letter to the President of the European Council, the Prime Minister described the agreement as “undemocratic and incompatible with the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.” [77] He stressed that this was “incompatible with the ultimate objective desired by the UK” for its relations with the EU. Its third stated reason that the backstop is not sustainable is that it “weakens” the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Tusk replied that those who opposed the arrangement without “realistic alternatives” supported the re-establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

That`s the reality, “even if they don`t admit it,” he added. “The backstop is an insurance policy to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless an alternative is found,” Tusk tweeted. [78] Irish government “sources” believe that “the real purpose of the backstop is to maintain the status quo by guaranteeing freedom of movement and not a hard border on the island of Ireland; which is of paramount importance to the GFA. The reality is that Brexit itself poses a threat to the GFA. [79] Brussels rejected Johnson`s decision to remove the backstop, making a no-deal Brexit virtually certain on October 31. Given the EU`s interest in preserving the single market and the UK`s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation, the prospects of a hard border within Ireland seem inevitable in this case. The partition of the island would thus jeopardize the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement concluded in 1998 and raise the spectre of civil violence. This could be avoided by holding a referendum in which Northern Irish citizens would vote on whether they want to secede from the UK and be part of a united Ireland, whether they want to remain in the EU or secede from it. In practice, this meant that the UK could not unilaterally leave the backstop, in a scenario where an impasse had been reached between the UK and the EU, not by a demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of “persistent divergences”. Barnier told French radio station RTL: “The time is too short to find an alternative deal to the Irish backstop, and Britain`s divorce deal with the European Union will not be reopened to negotiations.” [66] While the rejection of the backstop is politically understandable, the dissolution of the Good Friday Agreement is unacceptable.

The agreement provides for the possibility for the Northern Province to express the desire to join the Republic of Ireland and constitutes a “binding obligation for both governments to introduce and support laws in their respective parliaments to give effect to this desire”. The only way to know what those wishes are today would be to ask the citizens of Northern Ireland. A new case, and in some respects similar, shows that this makes political sense. Q3: Can the backstop be removed from the Withdrawal Agreement? Both the EU and the UK said they did not want the backstop to be used, but that was not sufficient certainty for some MPs who believed the backstop could mean the UK would remain closely linked to the EU indefinitely. The experience of the France of a conflict involving New Caledonia in 1998 offers a lesson in this regard. At that time, the Prime Minister of the time, Michel Rocard, was negotiating an agreement between French “unionists” and Kanack “separatists”. This agreement, which ushered in a long period of civil peace, included a likely referendum on the future of the territory. This referendum took place in November 2018 without incident. Turnout was high (81%) and a majority voted to remain in France (56.7%). The parallels are clear. Other options are politically implausible, such as keeping the whole of the UK in the European single market or the Republic of Ireland joining the UK outside the single market. The British government has called for other options to be considered and has insisted that whatever happens on October 31, it will not enforce the border.

This decision would effectively oblige the European Union, through Ireland, to introduce some form of border control, which would oblige the European Union to violate the Good Friday Agreement. The UK can believe or perhaps hope that the Irish Government will never try to introduce border controls, as this would harm its economy and jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement. The Irish Government, in particular, has insisted on this safety net. [41] [42] On November 14, 2018, after a five-hour meeting, Prime Minister May announced that her cabinet had approved the draft withdrawal agreement with the EU. [27] [28] [29] [30] On the same day, the government published the explanation of the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, in which it stated that negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU were ongoing and that the (binding) withdrawal agreement would not be concluded without an agreed (non-binding) political declaration on the future relationship “on the basis of: that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” is signed. [31] Articles 2 and 20 identify ways to limit the backstop. In accordance with Article 2(2) of the Protocol, this is a temporary measure[37], while the UK identifies and develops mutually satisfactory technology that carries out customs, excise, phytosanitary and other controls at the UK-EU border without obvious border infrastructure. The arrangements must be such that they comply with Article 10 of the 2018 Law on Withdrawal from the European Union on the continuation of North-South cooperation and the prevention of new border arrangements.

Brexit: Michel Barnier questions Theresa May`s “backstop plan” The Republic of Ireland has the second highest gross domestic product per capita in the EU after Luxembourg, thanks to a favorable corporate tax system and its membership of the European single market. [12] Around 85% of Ireland`s global freight exports pass through ports in the UK, of which around half are destined for the UK, while half enter the EU via Dover and Calais. [13] Using the UK as a “land bridge” is fast (it takes 10.5 hours for the Dublin-Holyhead-Dover-Calais route)[14], but could be affected by customs controls in Wales and Calais in the event of a no-deal Brexit. .