Those who thought that Brexit would be the beginning of the dissolution of the EU were very wrong.
This is a chronicle. Opinions in the text are the responsibility of the writer.
Those of us in the older generation will remember a time when the news from Northern Ireland was synonymous with street fights, protests, explosions, the death toll and mass arrests.
Now almost a quarter of a century Langfredagsavtalen finished “The Troubles”. Northern Ireland long disappeared from the news.
When the northeast corner of Ireland now reappears in the gaps, it is with the opposite sign.
Everything that does not work in the rest of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland seems to work excellently in the little corner of Ireland that is still British territory. In any case, things work much better there than in the rest of the kingdom.
“The best of both worlds”
Gives Langfredagsavtalen It was signed in 1998, nobody imagined Brexit. The agreement stipulates, among other things, that there will be an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
This is not just a multi-party agreement on the Irish island, but a binding international agreement that the UK has also signed.
Simply put, the Good Friday deal and Brexit are incompatible with each other.
Until Brexit, there was no problem. Both the UK and Ireland were part of the EU and of the common internal market that we have in the EU / EEA. Brexit changed this, and it was precisely this that created the clearly most difficult nut during the Brexit negotiations.
The solution was briefly explained that Northern Ireland remained in the EU / EEA. Instead, an internal UK customs border was established in the Irish Sea. This is what is special Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit deal.
Northern Ireland would get ‘The best of both worlds“As described by the British government itself.
The paradox is that those who are now most furious about this limit were also the most ardent supporters of Brexit.
The one that has been the largest party for Northern Ireland loyalists, or unionists if you will, is the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). It was these that came to light in the British Parliament, when Prime Minister Theresa May called new elections.
The DUP was a fervent supporter of Brexit.
They envisioned that Brexit would bring Northern Ireland closer to the rest of the UK and create distance with the Republic of Ireland. Now it is the exact opposite of what is happening and thus becoming an increasingly hot potato in British politics.
For Boris Johnson and his government, it is also increasingly embarrassing for other reasons.
A showcase for the EU / EEA
The problems now looming in the UK are practically non-existent in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has no empty gas stations, no one fears that Christmas is in danger, no empty shelves in grocery stores.
It is true that there are some things that are missing in Northern Ireland, and this is where you need to be careful not to put on a smiling face.
Of course, there are a number of British products that are in short supply because suppliers there are unable to deliver.
The problems now looming in the UK are practically non-existent in Northern Ireland.
This is replaced by products from the Republic of Ireland and other EU / EEA countries, which reach stores and customers without problems. With each passing day, Northern Ireland increasingly becomes a showcase for the EU / EEA internally in the kingdom of Boris Johnson.
When Johnson wants to renegotiate the agreement with the EU, it is to get rid of this protocol.
That just isn’t going to happen.
Unionists are losing on all fronts
56 per cent of voters in Northern Ireland did not vote as the DUP wanted in the 2016 referendum. They voted for the UK to remain in the EU. That ratio would probably be much higher today. Unionists are losing on all fronts.
In the 23 years that have passed since 1998, a whole new generation has grown up that does not have “Catholics and Irish” or “Protestants and British” as their main hallmarks.
They are mainly Northern Irish.
It is also this group of the population that is growing the most. It is no longer the case that those who define themselves as “Protestant and British” constitute the majority of the population. As a result of its own political miscalculations, the DUP party has also been cut in half in opinion polls in no time.
In the spring, there are also options in it. Parliament of Northern Ireland.
Who leaves the union first?
This development also generates new relevance for another point in the Good Friday Agreement. This point states that any change in the constitutional future of Northern Ireland will be decided by the people of Northern Ireland.
Here Northern Ireland differs from Scotland. Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon must have permission from the British Prime Minister to hold a new referendum on secession from the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson has every right to say no to that, something that he also until further notice it does.
For Northern Ireland, it is regulated in the Long Friday Agreement how such a referendum will possibly take place. The clock seems to be ticking in favor of those working for some form of reunification with the rest of Ireland.
As things stand now, it is a question of who leaves the British Union first. Scotland or Northern Ireland?
No matter who comes first, the first can make the second follow quickly.
Those who thought that Brexit would be the beginning of the dissolution of the EU were very wrong. Support for EU membership is now formidable in the remaining 27 EU countries, and new countries are lining up to join.
On the other hand, there are many indications that Brexit will be the beginning of the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.