Weekly Geopolitical Report – Irish Border Revisited (April 26, 2021)

by Thomas Wash | PDF

It has been more than a year since the U.K. and European Union (EU) came to terms with the Withdrawal Agreement, yet questions remain on how it will impact Northern Ireland, which was granted an exception to remain in the EU. Having decisively voted 56% to 44% to remain a part of the EU during the Brexit referendum, it is unclear whether Northern Ireland allegiance lies with the U.K. or the EU.

The exception, which went into effect earlier this year, keeps the Northern Ireland economy in the EU to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This has angered pro-British Unionists who believe that the exception ostracizes Northern Ireland from the U.K. and draws it closer to Ireland. As a result, the Unionists have protested the decision and violence has erupted between competing factions in Northern Ireland. However, demographic trends have shown that the pro-British faction seems to be slowly dwindling, likely heightening concerns.

In this report, we will focus on the current relationship between Northern Ireland, the U.K., and the EU, and summarize the Good Friday Agreement. Next, we will discuss the impact of demographic changes on reunification efforts and what we expect to happen going forward. As usual, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

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