Brexit: Backstop safeguard clause may invalidate Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland

Berlin announced on Thursday that E.U. member-states have designated crisis response frameworks in the event of a disorderly Brexit, even though the German Chancellor Angela Merkel still supported the seamless leaving of Britain from the Union under consensual terms. Both parties currently examine ways to circumvent the diplomatic impasse reached on deliberations about the so-called backstop solution. Still no effective solution looms in the horizon.

The backstop is a weapon of last resort utilised by the E.U. institutions to retain open the Irish boundaries in the event of a disorderly Brexit. Currently, both Ireland and Britain are members of the E.U. single market area and customs union. In the case of Brexit, where Britain denounces the customs union, products entering the E.U. from Northern Ireland’s borders must be checked to verify compliance with European safety and quality standards. This infers that the Northern Irish borders will harden checks on merchandise entering and exiting Britain. A hard border will in essence invalidate the 1998 Belfast Agreement, best known as Good Friday Agreement. Invalidation of the Good Friday Agreement may witness resumption of hostilities between pro-Irish and pro-British political groups. These hostilities in the pre-Good Friday Agreement era were pacified by the presence of hard security border checks across the Northern Irish borderline.


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