The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is affecting Ireland more than it does with any other country outside Great Britain itself. Right now, citizens of the two countries can cross their common border within 15 minutes. Officials say that things might change after the Brexit. The two countries are closely tied together economically, culturally, and linguistically. Ireland does over $41 billion in trade every year with the U.K. The German media has been providing sympathetic news coverage.
What Will Happen to Ireland After Brexit?
If not handled properly, there could be huge problems in Ireland following Britain’s exit from the European Union. The move could cause the collapse of Ireland’s banking system. In fact, the country has been so worried about this possibility that it created a special committee in 2015 to explore the possible scenarios.
Ireland is very concerned about their exports to Britain. The two countries are so intertwined that when Britain’s economy grows, so does Ireland’s. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Te U.K. expects its economy to go into a brief tailspin after the exit.
Tariffs and other barriers could make it harder for an Irish business to do business in the U.K. The cost of raw materials in Ireland may skyrocket. The two countries cannot make their own deals. Since Ireland will still be part of the European Union, other countries in the Union must approve their deals. The hardest hit may be to Ireland’s agribusinesses as about 40 percent of all the country’s exports go to Britain.
According to think tank Open Europe, if the U.K. isn’t able to negotiate positive trading terms, the impact on Ireland’s economy could be over 3.1 percent annually in a worst-case scenario. They say that in a best-case scenario, Ireland risks to lose 1.1 percent annually.
Many technology workers live in Britain and work in Ireland. After the split, their ability to do this may turn out to be difficult, although authorities said a “hard border” between the the two countries was in no one’s interest. Those workers may want to look for jobs in Britain, because the country expects a short decline in its housing market after leaving the European Union.
International companies have set up in Ireland so that they could have easy access to the European Union. Some feel that staying in the union is enough for the member states to not want to pull out since that could hurt the overall economy.
With all these problems, many people in Ireland are saying that Ireland should follow Britain out of the European Union. Experts point out that the country is pouring more money in the unelected European Union government than they are getting back. Free-trade agreements could be established to benefit both the U.K. and Ireland. Many say that the rules made in Brussels benefit big business and not the average Irish citizen.
Ireland’s Minister of Defense Enda Kenny believes it is better for Ireland to remain in the European Union.
“After more than 40 years of membership, we have built up strong bonds of partnership with all the other member states, and with the European institutions, that will continue to serve us well,”
Kenny recently said.
The impact of the U.K. divorce from the European Union could have ripple effects across Ireland. Many argue that Ireland should follow Britain’s lead. They say that the common Irish citizen has more in common with Great Britain than with any other country in the union. Citizens living in one country and working in the other could face increased trouble. Any British-Irish trade agreement must be approved by the European Union first.
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