Brexit.

Innula Zenovka

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Seems like the UK government wants to keep the smugglers route open as much and as long as possible.

I think it's more a case of trying to keep the Unionist paramilitaries from resuming their activities -- they've been making alarming noises in Larne, trying (not without success) to intimidate port workers there about import controls from the mainland UK.

I really hope the EU keep consulting the RoI about the border (they didn't before issuing threats to close it a couple of weeks ago, which badly shook my confidence in Ursula von der Leyen's judgment) and listening to what Dublin tell them, because no one in either the RoI or the UK wants a return to how things were thirty years ago, and I'm seriously worried that could easily happen by accident.
 

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Why do they think the EU has to bend towards them?
It seems to become a British habit.
The UK stepped out of the EU mainly to seek own advantages.
Why on earth would the EU not try to do the same?
We don't owe the UK anything after the split up that we did not initiate.
 
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Dain Shan

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I kinda think the same way.
The EU already gave in to so many things in regards of British demands.
Not in the Brexit situation alone, but before also.

I really would like that the EU goes at least a bit more harder in that regard.
I am kinda sick, being called a fascist, undemocratic, despotic and all that crap, just because i live and love the EU.
Since the British ( ok parts of them ) have that stand anyway, i see no reason for being considerate.

Here and there i peek into Twitter, Facebook, and serval other forums or comment sections .
( its like an accident, its totally terrible, but you cant look away )
I cant stomach what i have to read there. I cant be helped but feel that there is a lot of geniue hate towards people or institutions of the EU involved,
that never ever will calm down. Its more of a religion now, then based on real reasons, it seems to me.

I see no point in making any efforts from the EU towards Britain.
They want it that way.. let em have it that way.

A sentence i see all over the place is "You won, get over it" really comes to mind here.
 

Luisa Land

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I share the reaction that it is possible to get upset about the arrogant remarks coming from the British Isles.
But let's not forget: almost half of the British people voted "remain". While most here on the continent react to these news and statements from London with a mixture of outrage, amusement and perhaps "schadenfreude", it is much sadder and more annoying for remainers in the UK.
So, even though I sometimes laugh at what is going on..it is a bitter laugh.
 

Innula Zenovka

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The problem with debates about the relationship between the UK and the EU is that they conflate, on the one hand, formal relationships between national governments -- both EU members and third parties outside the EU -- and the EU itself, which result in formal agreements and legislation, with, on the other, everything that citizens of those countries and businesses based in them do within the constraints of these agreements.

That is, most of us aren't particularly worried about what the EU or the UK or our national governments do as political institutions, except insofar as they affect us as we try to get on with our lives. The EU or the UK or any other government is relevant to this insofar as it helps us pursue our particular goals, personal or institutional, or it hinders them

Farmers or fishermen in the UK or the EU are primarily interested not in the EU or Brexit but in running viable and successful businesses, as are the hauliers who deliver their products and the shops or restaurants who buy them. Similarly, the customers of those shops and restaurants are primarily interested in what they're having for dinner tonight, not the regulatory structure involved in getting it from the sea or ground to their dinner table.

Governments are now engaged in unravelling more than 40 years' worth of regulatory practices that govern a considerable proportion of private trade and business between individuals and businesses that happen to be located in the jurisdictions of particular governments (as opposed to "British farmers" or "German exporters") and replacing them with new ones, regardless of what the individuals engaged in this particular trade or business think, and very likely against their wishes.

Regardless of which government's fault this is, it's individual citizens of particular countries who are having their lives and livelihoods disrupted by the actions of various governments, theirs or other people's, and it seems to me not unreasonable to ask governments to try to disrupt things as little as possible while doing what they think they have to.

The point that Remain supporters like me tried unsuccessfully to get across to Brexit supporters over here was that neither the EU nor the continent of Europe was going anyway if we left, and all the myriad existing relationships between individuals and businesses in the EU and the UK would either continue, or not, under a new set of rules that are being imposed by their governments, often against their own wishes and interests.

All that's happening now is that the basis of existing relationships between individuals and businesses has been disrupted by various governments as a result of Brexit, just as they have been by Covid, and the individuals and businesses are doing their best to adapt to the new environment their governments are imposing on them unasked.

People, including various customs officers and other officials, need time to get the new arrangements to work, and it seems to me only right and sensible that the governments on both sides help them adjust to the new regime in which we all find ourselves.

This is a particular problem at all the new EU-UK borders, but most particularly at the Irish border, which is the site of a particular set of long-standing historical conflicts between particular social, religious, political and criminal organisations ("Loyalist" and "Republican" areas in NI always used to be as much about who ran drugs and protection rackets in particular areas as much as anything else) that were there long before the EU and which the Irish and British governments can only attempt to manage and contain.

The NI border isn't an EU issue -- it's an historic issue between different groups on the island of Ireland which can be solved only by the Irish people on both sides of the border, with whatever assistance from outsiders (primarily the British and Irish governments) they're prepared to accept. The EU is relevant here insofar as it's part of the solution (as it was before Brexit) or part of the problem.

I remember what it was like before the Good Friday Agreement, and I also remember how "the troubles" restarted back in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The danger we could easily end up back there seems to me all too real, and if the EU won't let the Republic of Ireland and the UK set the agenda as they try to maintain the peace process, then it's likely to get very nasty again very quickly, and I really do not want to see a return to the bad old days, which is all too likely if we see what's primarily a conflict between different groups on the island of Ireland in terms of the EU vs UK.

The neat and "sensible" solution would, of course, be a united Ireland inside the EU, and it's one the UK would privately love to see, because then the north would be Dublin's problem and not ours. But since forcing the Ulster protestants into a union with the south against their will would be a very bloody and protracted process, that's not going to happen in the immediate future.

I don't know what the solution is, but the problem of the Irish border is unlike most other border problems with which the EU has to contend, and if Brussels approaches the land border between the Republic and NI in the same way it approaches the EU's other external land borders, or the channel ports, then it does a huge disservice both to one of its member states, the Republic of Ireland, and also to the people of Northern Ireland themselves.
 

Sid

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The NI - RI border has been a problem since the day the UK announced to leave the EU without being member of the internal market any longer.
And it can't be solved if there is no border control somewhere between the UK and NI.
As long as that isn't accomplished and well settled there will be a smoldering wick in the powder keg called Ireland.
 

Innula Zenovka

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The NI - RI border has been a problem since the day the UK announced to leave the EU without being member of the internal market any longer.
And it can't be solved if there is no border control somewhere between the UK and NI.
As long as that isn't accomplished and well settled there will be a smoldering wick in the powder keg called Ireland.
The NI-RoI border has been a problem since 1920, though the historical problems of which it's a symptom have, of course, been going for several hundred years.

Border control between NI and the rest of the UK isn't a direct problem for the rest of the UK particularly -- we'd be delighted if NI were to unite with the RoI or the USA or North Korea, for that matter, so long as the Ulster Unionists become someone else's problem -- but it would certainly be a major problem for Northern Ireland and the Peace Process, of which the EU is, of course, a guarantor.

I'm not sure what the solution is but I am certain that approaching the question of NI's borders solely in terms of EU-UK trade, without appreciating the other aspects of the problem, is going to make a bad situation even worse -- it has to be handled locally, between the NI communities and the British and Irish governments, with the US and the EU stepping back and providing assistance and support as needed.

It's far more serious than Brexit, and it's very likely to get people killed if it's badly handled.
 
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Sid

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The NI - RI border has been a problem since the day the UK announced to leave the EU without being member of the internal market any longer.
I was talking here in relation to the Brexit process.
That the border troubles in Ireland go far further back should be a given fact.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I was talking here in relation to the Brexit process.
That the border troubles in Ireland go far further back should be a given fact.
Sure, I understand that, but it's important to remember that, if you're British or Irish, Brexit is simply an event in the troubled history of the Irish border.

The British government, a hundred years ago, made a terrible mistake when they partitioned Ireland, and we're still living with the consequences, rather as people all over the Middle East are still living the consequences of British and French attempts at drawing lines on the maps of that part of the world.

One of those consequences is that a hard border, either between the North and South, or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, is very likely to derail the peace process and start the killings and bombings again.

It wasn't an issue while we were in the EU, and while a few people warned, at the time of the referendum, that a vote for Leave was going to create huge problems in Ireland, but "project fear" and anyway, when have English Conservatives ever cared about Ireland?

Well, now Brexit has happened and, sure enough, it's brought plenty of problems with it. Saying it's the British government's fault so they should sort it out is all very well when you're talking about problems faced by importers and exporters at the Channel ports, but it's not the current cabinet, or the people telling them to sort it out, who are going to get killed and maimed if the Irish peace process is derailed because of the Irish border.

Sorry to rant like this, but it's something that frightens me a lot, and the thought we might be heading back to how things were in the 80s makes me very angry indeed.
 
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Sid

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I think that there is a lot agreed upon by the EU during the agreement negotiations because of the Irish border situation. RI is a member of the EU.
That the situation how it is at the moment, can't be the definitive solution, that is clear IMHO.
Not politically, not economically, not practically.

Still the final solution will somehow have to come from the Irish and British side.
The EU side can only cooperate as much as is justifiable for the other nations of the EU as well.

The British government always said there would be easy solutions during the Brexit process. No backstop needed.
Now where are they? I guess on the same pile as the billions extra for the NHS.
 

Innula Zenovka

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I think that there is a lot agreed upon by the EU during the agreement negotiations because of the Irish border situation. RI is a member of the EU.
That the situation how it now is, can't be the definitive solution, that is clear IMHO.
Not politically, not economically, not practically.

Still the final solution will somehow have to come from the Irish and British side.
The EU side can only cooperate as much as is justifiable against the other nations of the EU.

The British government always said there would be easy solutions during the Brexit process. No backstop needed.
Now where are they? I guess on the same pile as the billions extra for the NHS.
I just hope the Commission have learned by their mistake of a couple of weeks ago, when they threatened to close the Border over a dispute about the vaccine, and didn't think to consult the Irish government first.

That's certainly shaken my confidence in their judgment and their understanding of that particular issue, though I assume that, since then, the Irish and British governments must between them have remedied that particular gap in the Commission's understanding of the situation.

The EU is a guarantor of the Peace Process -- that, to my mind, obliges them to consider issues outside their normal remit for external affairs. It's not just a question of trade with part of the UK now Britain is outside the EU, and having people who don't understand the complexities of the situation treating it as if it is is likely to get Irish and British citizens killed.
 
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Sid

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It was the wrong reaction from the EU commission, but on the other hand they saw fairly quick that they made a mistake in that and straightened things out.
What I don't like, is that the UK government is trying to make it into a "but her e-mails" mantra.

And if people get killed, that is solemnly the responsibility of the ultras living in the RI and NI, with their catholic and protestant bullsh*t (in the past). Violence is unacceptable anywhere, so also there.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Northern Ireland is a profoundly wounded society for all sorts of historical reasons, none of them much to Britain's credit, and it's only for the last 20-odd years they've had the opportunity to live any sort of normal life that people take for granted elsewhere in both the UK and the Republic. All the UK and the RoI can do is to try to give them the space and support to work things out between themselves, and that takes time.

The place could so easily blow up again, and the only thing that matters is to to make sure it doesn't. We can argue about whose fault it is later, but NI is NI and borders are a very sensitive subject up there.
 
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Sid

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What ever their differences are, they have no other choice than to behave more or less civilized. Even when (Nordern) Irish.
Europe has more groups who have disputes over their land\country\souverainity.
Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia ) Spain (Catalonia), France and Spain (Basks) Italy (Süd Tirol). They all have learned to more or less behave, while having their different views.

The EU should not be, and isn't indifferent to the problems on the Irish Isle, but we should not let ourselves become hostages in regional disputes.

To me it is unacceptable to give the (current) British government an excuse to keep a backdoor opened to undermine the Christmas Eve agreement because of NI. Controls are agreed and should get in place ASAP as agreed. Delays to some degree, fine, But keep moving forward please.
 

Innula Zenovka

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What ever their differences are, they have no other choice than to behave more or less civilized. Even when (Nordern) Irish.
Europe has more groups who have disputes over their land\country\souverainity.
Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia ) Spain (Catalonia), France and Spain (Basks) Italy (Süd Tirol). They all have learned to more or less behave, while having their different views.

The EU should not be, and isn't indifferent to the problems on the Irish Isle, but we should not let ourselves become hostages in regional disputes.

To me it is unacceptable to give the (current) British government an excuse to keep a backdoor opened to undermine the Christmas Eve agreement because of NI. Controls are agreed and should get in place ASAP as agreed. Delays to some degree, fine, But keep moving forward please.
It's a unique situation with all sorts of difficulties that are apparent only to the Brits and the Irish. It will work out, but it needs time. NI requires patience.
 

Sid

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But they have learned.
And no, no credits for the EU in any of those matters.

These conflicts are seen as internal affairs from the countries involved.
The EU is a block of cooperating countries, not a state. It can be concerned, emphatic and to some degree supportive, but not intervene.
It will not send police forces or an army to restore order. That is up to national levels to decide. We don't even have any of them as a block.
 
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