Brexit :


AEBR has been following the discussions, debates, statements, decisions, guesswork, threats and wishes around Brexit since the voting on 26 June 2016. At the end of December 2018 it has finished a study with ICBAN (Irish Central Border Area Network), Looking Beyond Our Borders Report, examining cross-border strategies, models and solutions applicable to the Central Border Region of Ireland / Northern Ireland.

Prepared by AEBR for the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN) with the support of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund. Already mentioned under “Brexit”.

News in ICBAN website.

The report can be downloaded here.

Completed by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), the report’s released in February 2019 is timely given the impending culmination of decisions around the final shape and form of Brexit and how this might impact on the Ireland / Northern Ireland border region in particular.

As part of the background, AEBR researched a number of comparable areas across Europe, where areas within the EU adjoin those outside of the EU and work together in cooperation. Report author, Martín Guillermo-Ramírez, Secretary-General of AEBR states, “There is uncertainty in Ireland and Northern Ireland about how the future might look, what it might mean and how this can impact on cross-border cooperation and North-South collaboration on the island. We show in this study that this is not the first area in Europe to bring about effective cooperation between EU and non-EU areas, in what may become a non-EU area (UK/Northern Ireland). The identified and analysed case study examples point to successes, solutions, challenges and difficulties encountered. An intention of this paper is to offer some reassurances to those concerns that solutions can be found, if we look at some border areas in Europe facing or having faced comparable circumstances”.

The paper has been delivered as part of the ‘Border Compass’ project and can be downloaded from ICBAN’s Library in the following link:

The final results of the conversations between the UK and the EU, the decisions of the Council and the decisions of the UK Parliament are uncertain, changing from one week to the next, but in AEBR Team we are confident that the border will stay a soft one, and most programmes will apply. In fact, the REGI Committee of the European Parliament adopted on 23 January a Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council in order to allow for the continuation of the territorial cooperation programmes PEACE IV (Ireland-United Kingdom) and United Kingdom-Ireland (Ireland-Northern Ireland-Scotland) in the context of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (COM(2018)0892). Anyway, there are other pendant issues crossing the border and jumping from desk to desk in Dublin, Belfast, London and Brussels, but also in most EU Member States, which have already adopted provisions in case a non-negotiated Brexit happens.

On the other hand, it has been very interesting to follow quite closely every step since a referendum which might end up with a new one. Euractiv has published an interesting article on the impact of Brexit in Northern Ireland on 1 March, with interviews and stressing the effects of Brexit in keeping a peaceful environment at the border. You can read it here.

To know more, you should follow every day news, but you can also visit some specialists. The Centre for Cross-Border Studies in Armagh publishes research reports, a journal, a monthly Border-Zine with main news, events and publications, and other information services. They also train and mentor to support CBC. You can find all this information in their website. They also have a Brexit page.

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