Legatum Institute’s solution for the Brexit border is highly problematic
In the second of two related articles, Katy Hayward and Maurice Campbell review the Legatum Institute's recent paper on Brexit and the Irish border.
The paper from the Legatum Institute’s ‘Special Trade Commission’ on what it terms ‘the Irish border issue’ is to be welcomed for two reasons. The first is that the paper’s existence indicates this subject is of interest in London (and the well-publicised connections of the Legatum Institute means it is likely to have traction). In actual fact, parts of this paper (on ‘trusted traders’ for example) already appear to have had an airing in the UK Government Position Paper on Northern Ireland.
The second reason is that it gives those of us with a close and direct interest in this topic an opportunity to correct some of its most egregious misperceptions regarding the Irish border and Northern Ireland, and, indeed, of the fundamentals of European integration, international trade law and customs practice.
Opportunities and solutions?
Let us begin with the fundamental reason why the Irish border happens to be an ‘issue’ in the Brexit negotiations. The paper presents concerns about the border as being merely ones of commerce and logistics, with a hint of security risk thrown in. But no ‘solution’ to the border ‘issue’ has substantive credibility or viability if it is composed with such disregard for the rich and multi-layered cross-border relations that have flourished here as a result of the peace process and EU membership. Nor can such a solution be made more convincing by merely downplaying the challenges that it purports to meet.
Dr Katy Hayward is Reader in Sociology & Senior Research Fellow, Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.
Article first appeared on the LSE Brexit Blog.