Northern Ireland after Brexit: still connected to the European Union

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Some four and half years after the British electorate had voted to leave the European Union (EU), all former ties between the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU were finally severed on 31st December 2020. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at a press conference in Downing Street proudly hailed the achievement as a ‘jumbo, Canada style’ Brexit deal, adding that it was a time to celebrate as Great Britain had left the single market and the customs union but retained tariff free access to the EU market, which laid the basis for a ‘giant free trade zone’. This date marks a defining moment in modern British history. It is interesting that Johnson referred here to Great Britain and not the United Kingdom. The terms are not synonymous as the former excludes Northern Ireland. Indeed, Northern Ireland remains tied to certain EU rules and the EU customs territory. How, why and for how long this will remain the case forms the subject of this chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent challenges of European integration: 12th Network Europe Conference, 9-10 November 2020
EditorsAndreas Kellerhals, Tobias Baumgartner
Place of PublicationZürich
PublisherEIZ Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783038054405, 9783038054412
ISBN (Print)9783038054061
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameEIZ Publishing
PublisherEuropa Institut an der Universität Zürich (EIZ)


  • Northern ireland, Brexit, European Union


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