mercoledì 29 marzo 2017

Northern Ireland and ‘Brexit’: The European Economic Area Option

Brian Doherty

John Temple Lang
University of Dublin - Trinity College; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Christopher McCrudden
Queen's University Belfast - School of Law; University of Michigan Law School

Lee McGowan
Queen's University Belfast - Department of Politics and International Studies

David Phinnemore
Queen's University Belfast

Dagmar Schiek
Queen's University Belfast - School of Law, Centre of European and Transnational Legal Studies

Date Written: March 15, 2017

UK withdrawal from the EU poses many challenges for Northern Ireland. The preferred option of Northern Ireland's First Minister and deputy First Minister is, in many respects, for the status quo to be maintained. An approach that could mitigate some of the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and maintain much of the economic status quo is for Northern Ireland to become a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This paper sets out what the EEA offers and highlights how EEA membership might be achieved as well as the issues it raises. In the EEA, Northern Ireland would retain full access to the Single Market. It would continue to be part of a European market with the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. EEA membership would also permit some citizenship rights to be maintained. It would not be a panacea, however. It would also bring with it political and legal challenges. But it is a known arrangement and would therefore ensure a significant degree of certainty.

Keywords: Brexit, Northern Ireland, European Economic Area, EEA

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