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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 11:15
  #9085 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 66
Posts: 369
Originally Posted by virginblue View Post

You cannot be outside a customs union and not have a border.
Not at all sure about that. For decades before either the UK or the RoI joined what is now the EU there were markedly different customs arrangements, duties etc between NI and RoI. For decades that border was, to all intents and purposes, transparent. All you even noticed when driving over it in many rural areas was the change in the colour of the lines on the road, plus, perhaps, the occasional road sign that was in km/h or was bilingual. There were no border posts, guards, or anything else on the vast majority of the crossings, some of which are little more than farm tracks. No passports have ever been needed to cross this border, since long before either Ireland or the UK joined what is now the EU.

Yes, there was smuggling over that border. I well remember petrol smuggling being rife, with filling stations springing up on the NI side to sell cheaper UK petrol to those living in the RoI. People drove tankers over to collect cheaper fuel and smuggle it back, too. I dare say there were other goods that went too and fro over this very porous border.

Does the EU have a problem with the almost non-existent border between non-EU Lichtenstein, Monaco, Vatican City etc and the surrounding EU states?

The border between Sweden and Norway is massive in comparison to that between NI and the RoI, yet customs checks are perfunctory. Whenever I've crossed it by car we've not even had to stop, just driven straight through.

The EU are making a fuss about the NI/RoI border just because they can, and because the EU, quite understandably, wishes to make the Brexit process as politically difficult as possible. Doesn't mean that the objections and barriers they are putting up are as serious as they make them out to be, though.
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