The Irish Backstop


An idea of the backstop:

A key part to the Brexit negotiations was about the border that separates Nothern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. A few months ago, the EU leaders approved a withdrawal deal with the UK that includes an agreement on the Irish border. Both sides committed to avoiding a result in something called a 'hard border' and this could dramatically change things after Brexit. This is where the controversial terms of the 'backstop' comes in.

The Backstop:

What is the backstop?

The backstop is to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves without securing an all-inclusive deal. At present, goods and services are traded between the two jurisdictions in Ireland with minimal restrictions. The UK and Ireland are curently part of the European Union single market and customs union, so items will not have to be inspected for customs and standards. But, after Brexit, all that could change- the two parts of Ireland could face different customs and regulatory regimes, which could mean products being checked, as it would be going to a different part of Ireland, at the border. The UK government does not want this to happen. The EU has also said it does not want any hardening of the Irish border.

The Hard Border:

What is a hard border?

Following on from the topic of backstop is the subject of hard border, a hard border is a country that is strongly controlled and protected by officials, police, or soldiers rather than a border where people are allowed to pass through easily with very few controls. The general fear is that the return of the customs officials or border inspectors would be quite challenging for people who cross the border daily and freely across this border. Unfortunately, this could lead to people becoming angrier and angrier and this resulting in people becoming violent. Intoducing a hard border between two countries can reduce tourists and many other things could potentially change for Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland.

How will this affect people who cross the border?

It will affect many people who cross the Irish border becuase numerous amounts of peopel may need to take their passports if they have to cross the border regularly to get to work or school. The EU proposed a 'common regulatory area' comprising the EU and Northern Ireland, and that the 'territory of Northern Ireland' to be considered inside the customs union. This would mean Northern Ireland would still effectively be inside the custims union, even if the rest of the UK was out. This also means that there would be no need for checks at the Irish border, but there could be checks between Northern Ireland and the UK. This is saying that although there won't be need for checks at the Irish border, there will still be checks between Northern Ireland and the UK.

Websites I used:

BBC: Q&A of The Irish Border

Full Fact: The irish border and Brexit