So the breakthrough deal is this:
The UK is going to ‘align’ itself with the single market so that there is no hard border in Ireland. So it will be like being in the EEA – with the UK having to obey the rules to keep trading, but having no say in what those rules are. The only difference as far as I can tell will be that the European Court of Justice will not be the final court of arbitration – but rather some new court that takes the ECJ’s views into account.
If the UK do change something that breaks the rules they’ll have to let NI decide what to do – which although no one dares to use the term – would give them special status with one foot in the UK and one foot in the EU.
There will need to be an EU body set up to ensure the UK is actually obeying the rules and that untaxed goods aren’t making it into the EU via the NI/UK backdoor. There will need to be spot checks at the borders at the very least.
The key question is: will this alignment mean continued freedom of movement? If not, the UK border force will have to install themselves at every Irish airport and sea terminal – which will be extremely unpopular with the Irish – otherwise a hard border will be needed (not likely to happen).
So freedom to live or work will be withdrawn but moving around the UK and EU will be more or less seamless.
To wit – I smell a rat.
This is starting to sound a lot like having most of the benefits of membership without being a member. Which means, as it stands, the deal would get rejected by one of the regional parliaments (unless the Ireland question were held like a gun to their heads.)
But if the deal is passed as is – the end of the EU is nigh.
Alignment with the rules can only work if the ECJ maintains jurisdiction. If not, national governments will be too tempted to drop out and demand the same deal as the UK.
We’ll “ALIGN” ourselves and save some cash!
Are we looking at a Brexit breakthrough or an EU breakup here?