What Does The Good Friday Agreement Say About Regulatory Alignment

5 For anyone attempting to describe the Irish border as it is today, the practice of describing a European internal border is very similar. The Irish border resembles and functions like any normal intra-European border, through which goods, services, capital and population move freely.2 Unlike other European borders, however, 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 above all 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. It has been heavily monitored and militarized. Under that agreement, the British and Irish Governments agreed to hold referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic on 22 May 1998 respectively. The referendum in Northern Ireland is expected to endorse the agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations. The referendum in the Republic of Ireland was aimed at approving the BRITANNICO-Irish Agreement and facilitating the amendment of the Irish Constitution in accordance with the Agreement. Issues of sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, weapons dismantling, demilitarization, justice and law enforcement were at the heart of the agreement. Sky News published an article (27 February 18) on a leaked letter from Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary) in which he envisioned the return of a hard border – „Even if a hard border is reintroduced, we would expect more than 95% of goods to cross the border [without] controls.“ (Added February 28 and 18). The governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland have decided, through the Withdrawal Agreement, to allow the Northern Ireland Assembly to withdraw from the proposed amendments after four years, but with a delayed effect of two more years.

The United Kingdom was not obliged to propose this idea under the GFA. In fact, the idea of giving a role to the Northern Ireland Assembly was initially a concession to the DUP. But this party, we must not forget, first sought a totally unacceptable minority veto, without foundation in the ACM. Indeed, EU negotiators were astonished at what the DUP was looking for. www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/04/moderates-northern-ireland-good-friday-agreement/587764/. He described the „genius“ of the agreement as a framework for „all relations on our two islands – between the communities of Northern Ireland, between the north and the south on the island of Ireland and across the Irish Sea“. Northern Ireland urgently needs a common approach to Brexit. It is broader than an economic consideration. It is about the future cohesion of society. .

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