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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 11:47
  #9091 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,951
Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
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.
The problem is that many Brexiteers see the Brexit-related border issue linked to illigal immigrants swamping the country. The EU sees the border issue as a question of trade, tariffs and standards (and by that I don't mean a private citizen smuggling a crate of booze in the trunk or too many packs of cigarettes....). Two wholly different worlds and resulting problems. Why should the EU be concerned about the RoI/NI border in releation to immigration? As the UK is taking back control over its borders, there will hardly be anyone able to enter the UK in order to sneak into the via NI anyway....

If there is a no deal brexit, there will be a "border". Not necessarily one involving gates and barriers. But gates and barriers are merely a symbolic issue and a question of inconvenience. What really matters are tariffs, checks of standards, heaps of paperwork, the possibility to export at all etc.

As for the microstates comparison, those with some economic relevance are either part of the single market or at least the EU customs territory. The Vatican is not, but come on, that is really clutching at straws...
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