It’s fair to say that everyone is running out of patience with the Brexit shitshow, as the UK presses forward with its plan to commit economic suicide but can’t just seem to find the right building to jump off of. But it’s a particular problem for Ireland and Northern Ireland, with a 310-mile currently open border than would be transformed into a border of the European Union should the UK actually take the leap. Paschal Donohue, Ireland’s finance minister, is being quite clear that endless delays are not going to fly.
Paschal Donohoe said London would need to convince the EU27 that an extension to article 50 would not further risk economic disruption.
“I believe it is highly important that we do all we can to avoid being in a scenario of rolling cliff edges … particularly from a financial market stability perspective and economic stability, we need to be aware of that,” he said.
Theresa May is expected to ask the EU for an extension next week at the European council summit after MPs voted overwhelming to delay Brexit until 30 June.
Donohoe said the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, had made it clear that Ireland would “provide a generous response” but that London needed to spell out what it wanted from any extension.
Is it likely that a delay to the end of June would change anything? That’s an honest question; while I’ve been following this like everyone else, I don’t know what can be done. It seems like they’re at an impasse, and I don’t know that three months will really change much.
Adding to the problems are that in Northern Ireland, like Scotland, voters clearly rejected Brexit (apparently English nativism and xenophobia don’t play so well outside of England). So they’re just being dragged unwillingly off the ledge, and the Irish will pay a heavier price for Brexit with its serious threats to the order established by the Good Friday agreement.
In order to get an extension all 27 non-UK EU members have to agree. Hey, what could go wrong? (The Irish losing patience and saying “Figure it out, people.” Spain being unhappy about the status of Gibraltar. The French being French. Luxembourg wanting to remind everyone that it exists. Seriously, what couldn’t go wrong?)
I really, really hope the UK gets its act together and we don’t have yet another example of England screwing with Ireland.