Queen's Policy Engagement

The island of Ireland and “Brexit”: a legal-political critique of the draft withdrawal agreement

Based on a legal analysis of the position of the island of Ireland in the draft withdrawal agreement, Prof Dagmar Schiek argues that the draft neither fully protects socio-economic and civic cooperation on the island of Ireland, nor do justice to the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

The island of Ireland and “Brexit”: a legal-political critique of the draft withdrawal agreement

While the common regulatory area is an ingenious proposal to keep Northern Ireland in the Customs Union as well as the EU Internal Market for goods (including agricultural goods and electricity), the fledgling service economy on the island of Ireland remains unprotected, as well as civic cooperation and all-island services of (social) general interests such as (higher) education and health care.

As a consequence, even the second draft falls short of fully safeguarding North-South cooperation on the island of Ireland. If that is to be achieved, Northern Ireland will have to remain not only in the Customs Union, but also in the Internal Market and covered by the EU citizenship acquis, including the anti-discrimination acquis. However, if Great Britain does not follow the same course, the existing constitutional divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain will become more pronounced.

To read Dagmar’s analysis in full, please click here.


The featured image has been used courtesy of a Creative Commons license. 


Professor Dagmar Schiek
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Dagmar Schiek is Professor of Law at Queen's University Belfast and holds a Jean Monnet ad personam Chair in EU Law and Policy. Professor Schiek directs the Centre of European and Transnational Legal Studies and convenes the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence "Tensions at the Fringes of the European Union" as an interdisciplinary project.

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