The Strategist

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny: European Ireland means United Ireland


04/28/2017 - 15:33



At the Brexit summit on Saturday, EU leaders are expected to officially declare the British province of Northern Ireland part of the EU. This will happen in case of holding a referendum to bring together Northern Ireland (part of Britain) and the Republic of Ireland, Reuters reports.



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Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has earlier asked colleagues from the bloc whether it is possible to recognize that Northern Ireland, like East Germany in 1990, would automatically join the EU if it merged with the existing member state of the bloc, the Irish Republic.

Kenny will ask other 26 leaders to meet in Brussels to endorse the plan for the UK's withdrawal from the EU. She needs this in order to give political approval to a position in international law about such territorial changes.

"It would be easy to state the obvious, that is, that single Ireland will continue to be a member of the EU", said a source close to the European Council. The EU, of course, cannot agree with the possibility of creating unified Ireland. Should this issue arise, the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland must take a decision in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement".  

The 1998 peace agreement, supported by British and Irish states, says that referendums must be held on both sides of the border in order to approve unification of the island. The current British government has recognized that Northern Ireland, if it joins the Irish Republic, should be able to join the European Union.

EU leaders who met without British Prime Minister Theresa May, will declare their agreement with Kenny's position in the official minutes of the council. Usually the paper is published only after the next meeting, although in this case the decision is most likely to be announced immediately.

It is worth noting that according to results of the Brexit vote in June 2016 showed that the majority of inhabitants of Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain part of the EU. However, the new British government is doing their best to resist holding of a referendum on secession from Britain in these parts of the country.

For decades, Ireland has been popular among foreign companies thanks to the low taxes, the English-speaking population and a possibility pf entering the single market of Europe.

Brexit, in fact, removes the competitor for such mobile capital. Since the British voted to withdraw from the EU, there has been a "significant increase in requests" from companies that are considering moving to Ireland, says Martin Shanahan, Head of the state agency for business development (IDA Ireland).

The greatest interest is shown by banks and insurance companies, who fear that the London-based "daughters" will lose the right to sell financial services to other EU countries.

Nor should we forget that Irish exporters to Europe use the UK as a land corridor, since the transportation of cargo by sea is much more problematic than shipping in trucks. A quarter of Irish imports comes from the UK, in part because large British chains have supermarkets in Ireland.

A mild Brexit would please both parts of Ireland’s dual economy. It will allow to keep duty-free trade for some time after the UK leaves the EU, which will give the Irish agricultural producers time to reorient to other European markets.

source: reuters.com, economist.com




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