What is the Irish Backstop?
PM Johnson has made the removal of the #backstop the make-or-break matter when it comes to an exit deal with the EU.
So this thing is pretty damn important.
Time for a quick recap of what the ‘loathed and detested’ backstop actually is?
The #backstop is there specifically to meet the UK’s commitments to avoid a hard Irish border & protect the 1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement & peace process.
This isn’t just of benefit or interest to the island of Ireland.
A broken Northern Ireland means a limping UK.
A v.brief explanation:Having to apply & enforce customs procedures & rules around market access makes a border ‘hard’.
(just talking trade here)
Put simply, the greater the hassle in getting goods across a border, the harder that border is.
It does not mean NI pays different tax rates nor that Brussels sets its rates.
ie: NI will continue to maintain the same standards it does now on these products.
UK govt promised NI it too will align but not yet in law.
We don’t know what’ll happen if neither of these things occur.
NB: this is re: consumer confidence/safety
This was at the request of the UK govt.
It means there wouldn’t need to be customs procedures on goods going from NI into either GB or EU.
It will also relieve a great deal of hassle for UK trade into EU more broadly.
Hence the WA provision #backstop could be stepped down one part at a time.
Bear in mind: UK’s future relationship with EU still to be decided. UK could go for this anyway.
The EU isn’t more fond of the #backstop than the UK is.It is a compromise to manage a uniquely complicated situation. It is awkward & inconvenient for both sides.
Hence, right from exit day, there will be a negotiating track focused on avoiding its use.
*#Backstop is not the future EU-UK relationship!*
It’ll only come into force at end of transition period, currently set to be 1 Jan 2023 at latest but it cd be extended.
Even then it might be that just part of it will be in play.
It’ll be under constant review.