The “backstop”is the advanced solution to resolve the issue of the border with northern ireland. These 500 kilometres that separate Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland form the only land border in the Uk with the european Union.
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● Why the restoration of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland poses-t-he problem?
Until now, goods and people could cross the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland without ties, the two countries part of the european customs union. With the Brexit, the change: in the absence of agreement between the United Kingdom and the european Union, the return of a boundary materialized between the two countries is inevitable, it would bring with it the restoration of the rights of customs and border controls. Yet, the question of the border is a touchy subject in many ways.
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first of All, the restoration of a physical border could revive the tensions surrounding the partition of Ireland that the peace agreement of good Friday, signed in 1998, had paid. This partition date of the independence of Ireland in 1921, when the northern region remained british. She had produced several decades of clashes between the unionists, loyal to the british crown, and the republicans, in favour of the annexation to the Republic of Ireland.
The recovery of customs duties and border controls would also be a severe blow to the economies of both parts of the island: 31% of exports north-irish are destined for the irish market (turnover 2016) and 30,000 people cross daily the border.
● That provides the “backstop”?
The “backstop” – a “safety net” in French – refers to the solution to maintain the border in the irish open on a temporary basis. The two parties agree on the necessity of this solution, but they disagree about its implementation: the EU wants that only Northern Ireland remains in the customs union (pushing the Irish sea, the customs border), the United Kingdom proposed that the agreement concerns all over the country.
The solution chosen by the EU and the uk government is a “backstop”extended to the whole of the United Kingdom. Specifically, the calendar takes place in two time.
1. Until 2020 – a period of transition: the United Kingdom as a whole remains in the customs union the time to find a trade agreement.
2. After 2020: if no commercial agreement is found, the”backstop”is active: it maintains temporarily the whole of the United Kingdom in the customs Union. The border in Ireland therefore remains open.
● What problems the “backstop ” raises?
The “backstop”is temporary, it does not, therefore, the question of the border in ireland. The United Kingdom has voted in favour of the Brexit, many Tory supporters of Brexit and the members of the Party Democratic Unionist (DUP) in northern ireland have already declared their opposition to the retention in the customs union.
however, the draft agreement must be ratified by the british Parliament to be effective. To do this, Theresa needs the support of all conservative mps and mps from the DUP. The question of Brexit still remains far from being resolved.