Source: Government sets out its Brexit priorities (2)

Source: Government sets out its Brexit priorities (2)

The Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK has been so successful that few people are aware of its existence and the very notion of producing passports at the border is met with amazement and even ridicule. Yet in a European perspective it is quite a big deal. “The Common Travel Area can be said to function as a ‘mini‑Schengen’, by not requiring checks on movements between Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Common Travel Area has been an important feature of life in Ireland and the UK for almost a century … Any diminution of the Common Travel Area could have a destabilising impact on the Northern Ireland Peace Process and on North-South relations.”

Although British-style Euro-scepticism never gained much of a foothold in Ireland, our attitude to the EU was often expressed in transactional terms – we would be good Europeans and they would keep sending the cheques. This is the first official Irish document we can remember to highlight the issue of shared European values and the way the European institutions forced social progress on Ireland: “The EU has also been the cornerstone of much of the social progress which Ireland has experienced over the last generation. The social dimension of the EU – respect for human rights, workers’ rights, and equality – reflects a distinctly European set of values which we share here in Ireland.”

There is a fairly frank admission that whatever about the 60 million British, small countries find it tough to make it on their own in a dangerous world: “As members of a Union … we have a much more powerful voice and much greater influence on the global stage.”