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>>the EU would be only too happy to retain N. Ireland within the CU and Single Market<<
is exaggerated. Nothing in the briefing encourages, offers, or supports NI severability from the EU-UK withdrawal agreement unless a NI referendum ("border poll") affirms NI secession from the UK (ie. IE "unification" which EP expects "Westminister" is unlikely to honor per recent High Courts' decisions on NI home rule). The briefing does in many instances affirm the GFA is a peace treaty, not a trade agreement, between the signatories, IE and UK. The briefing does in many instances affrim EU commitment to arbitrate civil rights ("protections") stipulated in the GFA --specifically "open border," or CTA, free movement of people, specifically not goods-- in the event the signatories, either IE or UK abridge those dual-nationals' rights under the ECJ.
>>to secure the Republic's agreement to a deal and obviate the obvious problems a customs border<<,
is unfounded. Ireland's BREXIT veto or approval power is immaterial until EU-UK table a settlement ("deal"), and it provides no unilateral authority to "secure" a settlement or a extension of UK membership ("transitional period"). In any case, (1) EU position is, regardless of settlement terms of aqreement, UK membership terminates on the date of withdrawal; (2) a/o 31 Aug UK and EU have actually agreed to several ex-pat "entitlements"; moreover, (3)
Customs controls on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland operated on both sides of the border until the end of 1992, when the Single European Market came into force. The imposition of tariffs and return of customs controls - a harder border - for goods travelling to and from Northern Ireland seems inevitable in the event of abolition of a customs union, although the UK Government has listed access to the EU Customs Union and tariff-free trade as an (optimistic) negotiating priority. [...] The chances of approval of a bespoke deal benefiting only the UK and Ireland and at odds with core EU principles may be remote. One option would be for Northern Ireland to remain part of the EU Customs Union whilst the rest of the UK withdraws. This would permit tariff-free trade across the border.However, it seems inconceivable that the EU would permit such an arrangement in the event of a UK Brexit, given that Britain would be a beneficiary of the onward transfer of goods from Northern Ireland. [...] Any attempts at bespoke deals between the UK and Irish governments may meet opposition within the EU from those wanting sanctions against the UK, feeling that the (cherry-picked) benefits to the UK are not accompanied by any fulfilment of obligations. The Interlaken Principles  make clear that the EU will a) prioritise internal integration over relations with non-member states and b) the EU will always safeguard its own decision-making autonomy. The Principles declare that any relationship with the EU must be based on a balance of benefits and obligations. Non-member states will not be able to choose what aspects of EU integration they particularly favour. As such, prospects for a bespoke, tariff free Northern Ireland-EU cross-border trade arrangement appear slim, whilst a continuing Common Travel Area is in jeopardy, with all the possible ramifications outlined above [p 9]
Conflating GFA jurisdiction, IE/UK immigration controls, and CU/EEA/EU customs controls is a UK dissembling tactic to exaggerate IE/EU dependence on its trade and evade EU surveillance of third-country duties wherever the UK finally proposes to draw NI ports.
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