For the world’s border protection, management and security industry policy-makers and practitioners.
Border Security Report – September/October 2019
As we approach the next Brexit deadline, and if we are to believe the rhetoric, the final deadline, the chances of a ‘no deal’ Brexit looks more and more likely.
The sticking point is of course the ‘Irish Back Stop’. This is the agreement that would keep the United Kingdom (in general) in the European Union Customs Union and Northern Ireland (in particular) in some aspects of the European Single Market, until a solution is found to prevent a hard border.
This is of course an anathema to many in the UK government and the Unionists in particular and has been firmly rejected by the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
What Johnson, seems to be saying, as far as I understand it (and correct me if I’m wrong), is that even in the case of ‘no deal Brexit’, Britain will not put in place any physical border infrastructure (hard border) and will continue to allow free movement of people and goods across the border, despite the UK being outside the EU. Until such a time as the so-called soft border can be put in place.
This will put the EU in an invidious position. Why, because as custom duties and regulations diverge, to protect the integrity of the EU zone, the EU will have to demand that the UK put in place customs and immigration checks somewhere in the province. Even if it is not actually on the border. Thus, creating the hard border infrastructure that the back stop was designed to prevent.
The fear then is that this will give hard line republicans all the excuse they need to start attacking that infrastructure, wherever it is, kicking off the ‘Troubles’ part 2.
This seems like a high-risk strategy designed to force the EU to make concessions. Let’s hope it works because nobody wants a return to the ‘Troubles’.