The Irish border has crashed Brexit negotiations. Here’s what you need to know.

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
December 4, 2017

A couple of hours ago, the Financial Times top headline announced that “Britain and Ireland agree Brexit to border deal.” Now there’s a rather different headline: “Brexit deal falls through over Irish border dispute.” The British pound, which had jumped earlier, has now fallen from its earlier highs. Here’s what has just happened to Britain’s Brexit negotiations — and what is likely to happen next.

The European Union was important to Ireland’s peace deal

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has major consequences for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (the part of the island of Ireland still under British rule). Decades of violence were ended when Britain and Ireland negotiated a peace deal in which Britain agreed that Northern Ireland could join the republic if and when Northern Irish people wanted to; the Republic of Ireland agreed to abandon its constitutional claim to the North.

One of the key enabling conditions for this deal was that Britain and the Republic of Ireland were members of the European Union. This had already allowed them to get rid of customs posts at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It was also much easier to reach an agreement and maintain it when both countries were part of a broader political union.

Read the full piece at The Washington Post