SAVE THESE DATES: Thursday 18th and Friday 19th February 2016
The Centre for Cross Border Studies invites you to its 2016 annual conference
Bordering Between Unions: What Does the UK Referendum on Europe Mean for Us?
Whatever the result of the forthcoming UK referendum on membership of the EU, it will have enduring implications for everyone living on the island of Ireland. But while attention has been focused on “In” or “Out”, the negotiations that will precede the Referendum will in themselves have serious consequences in many ways that are as yet not entirely predictable. The UK Government has the support of the business sector and indeed, the governments of other member states including Ireland, for reform of the EU. However, while only some people living on this island will have a vote in the Referendum, it is important that everyone has a voice in the debate about what reform of the EU will look like.
What will reform – if achieved – mean for people in the UK, Ireland and across the EU; citizens and ‘migrants’? Will the protections of ‘Social Europe’ be eroded or erased? What commitment will there be to ‘Inclusive Growth’ in the drive to give employers more ‘flexibility’? Will there be new limits to the free movement of EU citizens? If restrictions on the free movement and other rights of EU citizens are accepted, what fates can be expected for those fleeing conflicts and hoping to find asylum and safe haven in the EU? In a reformed EU, which EU Directives and Regulations will the UK be obliged to implement and which may it be allowed to opt out of? Will they seek derogations from EU Directives on environmental standards that may be deemed to interfere with competitiveness or free movement of goods or capital?
Could the UK find itself outside the EU by default – irrespective of the Referendum decision? What consequences would ensue from withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights? If the UK was no longer a signatory to the ECHR, it would not be eligible for membership of the Council of Europe; and in turn of the EU. But even if the intention is to continue as a signatory of the ECHR, the repeal of the Human Rights Act would be a breach of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement – an international treaty with the Irish state. The Human Rights Act (HRA) is also embedded in the devolution agreements for Scotland and Wales – the Scotland Act and the Government of Wales Act. Will the UK Government seek the consent of the devolved administrations for repeal or amendment of the HRA? Will it seek the consent of the Irish Government? Will it seek the consent of the people of Ireland North and South who voted in an all-island referendum to endorse the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement?
And if the majority of the people in the UK do vote to leave the EU – irrespective of whether there is a majority among the voters of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to remain – how will that change social and economic relationships within and between these islands? How will the myriad of complex legal and administrative arrangements be disentangled and what will be the costs or benefits for Ireland, North and South?
For further information contact Ruth Taillon – firstname.lastname@example.org