This is a timely article on the reasons a shared regulatory framework is necessary between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Ireland is hogging the Brexit headlines. While some reports suggest that the UK and EU are close to a solution on the vexed question of the Irish border, still others maintain that the Democratic Unionist Party, on which Theresa May depends for her slim Commons majority, will not accept any differentiation between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

And yet such differentiation has to be granted if the UK government intends to square the circle it has drawn. Somehow, the UK must leave the single market and customs union while providing the Republic with the political commitment it has demanded that the intra-Irish border must remain invisible.

Throughout last summer, British, Irish and EU officials undertook a detailed “mapping” exercise intended to examine all the areas of north-south co-operation which would be affected by Brexit. They identified more than 140 such areas. The exercise has served to underline the serious challenges posed by any regulatory divergence between the Republic and the North.

The Irish border question is not simply about sectarianism. Nor, indeed, is it all about tariffs. It is also about rules, and the impact those rules have on ordinary people on both sides of the border. These citizens live in a world in which the existence of the same regulatory framework shapes numerous aspects of their daily lives.

Source: Why the Republic and Northern Ireland need shared regulatory frameworks – UK in a changing Europe


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