Response to Exiting the EU Committee, ‘The UK’s Negotiating Objectives’ Inquiry

Linked to ongoing work on the impact of various UK constitutional changes upon Northern Ireland, Dr Sylvia de MarsColin MurrayDr Aoife O’Donoghue and Dr Ben Warwick, have recently submitted evidence to the latest parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry, this time by the Exiting the EU Committee (not to be confused with the government Department for Exiting the EU), is seeking to gather evidence on what the UK should set as its negotiating objectives.

The evidence is available Open Access here. We identify a number of points which we see as central to Northern Ireland’s interests:

The overriding objective of the negotiations should be to negotiate a settlement which is equally advantageous in all parts of the UK including the three devolved regions.

The negotiations should ensure that the particular historical, political and social contexts of Northern Ireland are kept in mind as part of the Brexit negotiations alongside other broader constitutional changes.

In this regard, the key objective for the negotiations from the perspective of Northern Ireland should be to conclude an arrangement for the land border between NI and ROI that reflects the particular economic relationships on the island, the nature of the border region and the historical significance of the border.

Such an agreement will be particularly necessary should the UK leave the single market as a re-negotiation of the Common Travel Area will at that point be necessary.

The impact on the business environment in NI needs to be considered if the UK chooses to leave the single market and complicate access to the EU market; particularly, the negotiations should have as an objective to minimise the negative impact on the agri-food sector and consumer costs in NI.

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