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Ending All Ireland Cooperation

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jan 31st, 2024 at 11:32:10 PM EST

Paragraphs 114 to 116 of the UK Government Command Paper "Safeguarding the Union" (The DUP deal with the UK Government) contains provision for ending all British Government commitment to protecting the all-Island economy in Ireland as previously agreed with the EU in 2017, and provided for in the UK European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

On the face of it this constitutes a unilateral resiling on agreements previously reached with the EU, and a slap in the face for the Irish government and its commitment to provide funding for cross-border projects and projects within Northern Ireland under the Shared Island Initiative.

Why should the Irish government devote taxpayers' money towards promoting cross border cooperation and projects within Northern Ireland when the British government actively seeks to discourage all-island economic cooperation?

Has this proposal been agreed with the Irish government and the North-South institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, and has the EU agreed to set aside agreements previously reached with the UK government?

There are numerous ways Ireland and the EU could retaliate against this needless and hostile measure, ranging from freezing all funding for Shared Island projects, to the halting all discussions between the EU and UK on research cooperation or improving EU/UK trading relationships more generally.

Does the UK really want to start a trade war, or at least halt all discussions aimed at easing current barriers to UK/EU trade? It seems the UK Prime Minister's reportedly testy phone call with An Taoiseach was designed to distract from this unfriendly measure.

It beggars belief that unionists or the British government should see ending north south cooperation as improving prospects for reconciliation or economic development within Northern Ireland.

Specifically, Paragraphs 114-116 state:

114. The Government recognises that one of the key concerns for unionists in Northern Ireland within the 2017 UK-EU Joint Report is related to the promotion of the political concept of the 'all-island economy.' Whilst access to the EU market has broad support amongst business and consumers, the creation of a new political construct of the 'all-island economy' is clearly more divisive in nature and has been rejected by the current Government. The Windsor Framework decisively moved away from this concept, and indeed envisages growing divergence across the international land border, with labelling and market surveillance used to seek to avoid products being placed illegally on the market in Ireland.

115. However, the Government accepts that there are concerns we have not yet gone far enough to decisively remove all the legal ramifications of the acceptance in 2017 by the then UK Government of the need to protect the 'all-island economy' in relation to goods. Specifically we agree that it is unacceptable that Ministers still have a legal duty to have regard to protecting the 'all-island economy.' This applies to all Statutory Instruments relating to the Windsor Framework and therefore could continue to have a long-term distorting legal effect that detracts from our actual priority to protect Northern Ireland's place in the UK internal market and customs territory.

116. The Government therefore commits to repealing section 10(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. We will legislate separately to ensure this important change comes into effect. This will mean a full and complete repeal of all statutory duties relating to the 'all-island economy' that apply to Ministers or competent authorities. We will ensure that statutory guidance issued under the UK Internal Market Act 2020 - as set out in this paper - fully reflects this.

I have a hard time even seeing why. They are not dependning on DUPs votes anymore, NI is a backwater, they risk to lose a lot.

Is it internal tory politics in showing who is toughest? Or are they looking to gin up a trade war in order to be able to blame the EU for all woes?

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 3rd, 2024 at 10:49:28 AM EST
They just didn't want the hassle of having to govern N. Ireland, and so needed to get devolution back up and running.

However in restoring the strand 1 institutions of the Good Friday Agreement (Assembly and Executive) they risk thrashing the Strand 2 institutions (North South Ministerial council) and a rake of Quangos.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 3rd, 2024 at 07:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
   The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (GFA) commits both the Irish and British governments to promote the all-Ireland economy and sets up InterTradeIreland and other agencies to assist in doing so.  The ability to trade freely across an open border was one of the main reasons GFA was endorsed in referendums, north and south.

    The importance of this responsibility to promote the all-Ireland economy was also underscored in the 2017 Joint EU/UK report on the Brexit  negotiations which was later incorporated into UK law in section 10 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

    Yet paragraphs 114-116 of the UK Command Paper "Safeguarding the Union,"  have the audacity to describe the all-Ireland economy as a new and divisive political construct and declares the government's intention to repeal its commitment, in section 10 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018  not to diminish any form of North-South cooperation provided for by the Belfast Agreement.

    In addition, by discussing and agreeing these proposals only with the DUP,  the British government has failed to observe the "rigorous impartiality" and "parity of esteem" for all of Northern Ireland's political parties and traditions as required by the Good Friday Agreement.

    It is thus unilaterally resiling on agreements previously reached with other Northern political parties, Ireland, and the EU and administering a gratuitous a slap in the face for the Irish government `s commitment to providing funding for Northern Ireland and cross-border projects under Shared Island Initiative.

    It beggars belief that the DUP and the British government should see ending north south cooperation as improving the prospects for reconciliation and economic development within Northern Ireland. Who gains from such a gratuitous attack on good neighbourly relations on the island?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 3rd, 2024 at 07:31:32 PM EST
I had the same reaction. Nevertheless, UE reaction has been measured, praising the restoration of Stormont etc... I suppose it was negotiated to some extent.

Perhaps the main intention, as well as getting self-government running again, was to leave a poison pill for the incoming Labour government, who will be obliged to re-negotiate with the EU and tighten things up in order to roll back the unilateral changes. Bound to be unpopular.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 7th, 2024 at 05:06:46 PM EST

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