However, there is no further discussion of what this “spirit” might be. Last year, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney wrote that the agreement had removed “physical and emotional” barriers between communities in Ireland. It could be said that a hard border would conflict with the spirit of that part of the agreement, but again, there is no specific prohibition. As part of the agreement with May, the DUP agreed to “fully” respect its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement, but the agreement does not contain benchmarks for assistance. The abandonment of an international treaty shows that the Prime Minister cares more about a Eurosceptic fantasy than the Good Friday agreement, which Conservative MPs have regularly said, that all this can go to waste and that they have voted for it anyway only with their fingers crossed. But Brussels found this less threatening. Britain`s distorted Eurosceptic imagination has been the framework of summits and contract negotiations for decades. After the British Parliament voted to leave the European Union, all parties said they wanted to avoid a hard border in Ireland, in part because of the historically sensitive nature of the border. Border issues were one of the three priorities negotiated in the proposed withdrawal agreement. Following the UK`s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020, this border is also the border between the EU and a foreign country. The Brexit withdrawal agreement obliges the UK to maintain an open border in Ireland, so that (in many ways) the de facto border is the Irish Sea between the two islands.
Kimberly Cowell-Meyers does not work for, advises, has no interest in a company or organization that would benefit from this article and has not disclosed relevant affiliations beyond her academic appointment. 29 Brexit could not only pose a threat to the peace process, but also be a source of instability for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Thanks to EU membership (including the establishment of the single market in 1992) and the implementation of the peace process, the border between the two states has become a soft border. Since the abolition of customs controls, there have been virtually no physical manifestations of the border.65 This soft border was a symbol of successful peace-building and practical importance, as it guarantees free movement between the two states. This certainly explains why this theme was considered crucial by researchers. For example, the report published by the Northern Ireland Committee stressed that “regulation that maintains a soft land border … the absence of restrictions on travel within the UK should be a priority in the event of Brexit.” Indeed, Brexit could theoretically break down a hard border, because Northern Ireland, unlike the Republic of Ireland, would no longer be part of the EU. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would become an external border of the EU and should be managed to avoid the immigration of EU nationals to Britain. Therefore, border controls should be put in place. Regarding the proposed legislation, he said: “This is a threat to the Good Friday agreement, as it reopens the agreement with the EU, the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has found a way to balance the problem and keep the border open between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
49 Richard Wheeler, “NI Secretary Theresa Villiers: `Brexit no affect on peace process`,” Irish Examiner, 18 April 2016: www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/ni-secretary-theresa-villiers-brexit-no-affect-on-peace-process-393552.html [8 August 2016].