Professor Dagmar Schiek, of JMCE “Tensions at the Fringes of the European Union”, was called to give evidence in the Inquiry on the future of the land border in Ireland after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. She stressed that from legal perspectives borders are composed of rights to access territory and the authority to control access as well as granting exceptions. While the geographical location of the border is important, the exercise of control, especially by technological means, expands throughout the territory enclosed by a border and beyond, depending on the exact legal framing of the access rights and authority to control. The substantive law of the EU Treaties defines rights to move for EU citizens (distinguishing between those who are economically active and those who are not), rights for business to move goods, services and capital across borders, as well as rights for non EU citizens (distinguishing between those who are family of EU citizens, who enjoy international protection as refugees and those who do not). Should the UK withdraw from the EU, all these access rights must be controlled at the external borders of the EU, which would (as long as Northern Ireland remains a part of the UK) run across the island of Ireland. Without a special status for Northern Ireland the aim, professed by the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister in August, to maintain free movement of persons, goods and services between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, cannot be achieved. Such a special status should not only include access to the Internal Market, but also inclusion in the customs union and maintaining citizenship rights, The latter are pivotal for cultural and civil cooperation over the island of Ireland, the option to study North and South for all residents as well as for health care services.
her written evidence submitted prior to the hearing can be found here:
And the full session can be watched here: