Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm not sure what the author of your linked Euractiv article is trying to say. Both sides are committed to a common travel area and have agreed that N. Ireland is effectively in the Single Market and Customs Union. There is therefore very little for the North South committee to discuss.

What will be very controversial is the "border down the Irish Sea" that will be required to preserve the integrity of the single market and uphold   WTO rules and any provisions of an FTE should one be agreed. Given Boris' frequent pronouncements that no controls will be required and EU insistence they are unavoidable, the stage is set for ongoing EU/UK tensions.

But none of that is part of the remit of the North South committee or of any great interest to Irish nationalists provided it doesn't impact too much on East/West trade between Britain and Ireland. Unionists, on the other hand, are hugely worried that the "border down the Irish sea" will gradually consolidate into a a real customs, and ultimately a political border.

Sinn Fein's success in the Irish general election doesn't alter that picture unduly as all three main parties are on the same page regarding Brexit and its impact on Ireland. We may well be into a "Belgium" scenario of no effective government for a while, but that may have little impact on EU/UK negotiations regarding the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and agreement to a FTA.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 16th, 2020 at 12:09:49 PM EST
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