What Does The Good Friday Agreement Say About A Hard Border

The second part of the GFA created new institutional and political structures that were inextricably subordinated to the condition that the Irish border was a normal intra-European border and that both states were members of the EU. The second part envisaged the creation of a North-South Council of Ministers (NSMC) which was very strongly in line with the model of the Council of European Ministers (5). One of these bodies, the Special Body of the European Union (SEUPB), was set up to monitor EU funding across borders. The main concerns expressed about a fierce border centre regarding the political impact on peace in Northern Ireland and the economic and social impact on people and trade that regularly cross the border. Concerns have been expressed that any infrastructure and police presence at the border could be a target of terrorist attacks. Despite all the «guarantees» to avoid a hard border, physical infrastructure, etc., we must not forget the following statement in the «Observations» section: «Provided that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the common commitments set out in this joint report will be amply expressed in the withdrawal agreement.» He said: «While the wind of change is about to break, it is not yet possible to determine the exact direction in which it will blow, so there is a degree of uncertainty, as shown by the debate on how Northern Ireland`s land border with Ireland is affected by the UK`s effective withdrawal from the EU.» 2 There is a general consensus that the UK`s exit from the European Union will have a negative impact on the Irish and Northern Irish economies, as well as on cross-border trade and relations between Ireland and Northern Ireland, particularly in certain sectors that are heavily dependent on such trade, such as the agri-food sectors. However, if a general agreement has still not been reached between the political parties London, Brussels, Dublin and Northern Ireland on the status of the Irish border after Brexit, it is not only because of these potentially negative socio-economic effects.

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