Daniel Greenberg delivers talk on his paper "Perspectives on the impact of Brexit"
On June 23rd 2016, a referendum was held to decide whether the UK should ‘remain’ or ‘leave’ the European Union. The outcome was an overall decision to leave the EU (52% voted ‘leave’ and 48% voted ‘remain’). The breakdown for the UK countries varied. England voted strongly in favour to leave as did Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland however, indicated their desire to remain in the EU.
In order for the UK to leave the EU, it must trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Once Article 50 has been triggered, the UK have two years to negociate the terms of withdrawing from the EU. As it stands today, the UK is still a member of the EU and must continue to abide by EU laws and treaties, but it will not take part in any decision making in the future.
What does this mean for Northern Ireland in terms of legislation and what implications will it have for other matters such as the Good Friday Agreement?
Daniel Greenberg visited Parliament Buildings on Tuesday 13th September to discuss his paper regarding the legislative impact of Brexit for Northern Ireland. Mr Greenberg is a barrister and for over 20 years he drafted laws as a member of the Parliamentary Counsel. His paper focused on:
- Legal and constitutional implications of Brexit
- Options for the UK/Northern Ireland status post Brexit
- The political possibilities of Brexit
Daniel Greenberg discussed a variety of issues with the audience, such as the option for any special arrangements to be made for Northern Ireland, taking into consideration the strong ‘remain’ vote and its unique circumstances stemming from the conflict. This sparked other questions from the audience such as “is there potential for Northern Ireland to hold EU citizenship, joint with their own national citizenship?” and “will Brexit have implications for the rest of the European Union e.g. Catalonia?”. This is because the UK’s decision to hold a referendum strengthens Catalonia’s case to be allowed to seek an independence referendum from Spain.
As Article 50 is central to Brexit, many are concerned when it will be triggered, as it begins our timed separation from the EU. For example, a member of the audience asked “Has delaying the triggering of Article 50 been a good tactic and at what time should it be triggered?” Daniel Greenberg believes there will be a gradual transition period in leaving the EU post-Brexit.
Overall, the event was informative and useful in helping to understand the possible future for Northern Ireland post-Brexit. It was very well attended by MLA’s and Northern Ireland Assembly staff alike. Daniel Greenberg’s paper “Perspectives on the impact of Brexit” commissioned by Politics Plus, will be available to download in the near future.