Northern Ireland After Brexit: Deliberations and Forecasts

Author: N. Mishchenko

Key words: Ireland, Brexit, EU Customs Union, no-deal Brexit, Sinn Féin.

THE BORDER between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is the key issue at the talks on Brexit.

An absence of Ireland's only land border is its most amazing feature. The winding and twisting border of nearly 499 km long is not marked by pillars or barriers; there is no barbed wire or checkpoints. After the 2016 referendum on the withdrawal of Great Britain from the EU, the border issue moved to the fore in the relations between the UK and Ireland.

When the UK leaves the European Union, the counties on both sides of the twisting border will become the frontier of the EU which will increase, at least theoretically, the possibility of political and economic crises and deeper conflicts in both countries.

It should be said that the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998 (the agreement on political settlement of the conflict in Northern Ireland that envisaged autonomous bodies of power) created the "transparent" border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as one of the agreement's key elements.

In the referendum of 2016, nearly 56% of the population of Northern Ireland voted "remain" yet there was no agreement in its government: Sinn Féin, in the past the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), wanted to remain while the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), its coalition partner that represented the interests of the Protestants, spent nearly half a million pounds to support the "Brexiteers."

In Ireland, the border is a highly sensitive political, security and diplomatic issue. This explains why the politicians of the United Kingdom and the European Union assert, at least verbally, that regardless

Nina Mishchenko, Third Secretary, Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Northern Ireland;

of Brexit variants there should not be any ...

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