World News: Brexit Update


Breanna Reynolds, EMC Staff Writer

Almost exactly one year ago I wrote an article about Brexit, the controversial topic about Britain exiting the European Union. Though there has still not been any permanent removals (as of the time I’m writing this) a lot has happened. Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, is still holding a no-deal over everyone’s head. 

If you support a ‘no-deal Brexit’ you support Britain leaving the European Union without any agreements made about the separation, if these agreements are not made by a certain time (which is now set as the end of 2020). This would include everything set up through the EU including the Court of Justice and trade deals. Deadlines have been extended in the past and many people think that this will be the same situation but some aren’t so confident. 

Maros Sefcovic (Sef-sa-vic), the Vice President of the European Commission, told the EU parliament that time was running out to make negotiations with Britain. He also referred to several of Britain’s most recent bills as putting ‘A heavy blow on the British signature and reliability.’ While many have worked non-stop for the last six months trying to figure out the needed details numerous negotiations have come to a stand still. They are currently in a critical phase of the process and people are now looking at what the real life effects of a no-deal Brexit may be.

Leaving the EU would limit free travel between British citizens and the rest of Europe. Though travel for work, friends, family, or vacations will not be impossible, it will make it at least slightly more difficult. This is where the question of Northern Ireland comes in. Northern Ireland is made up of the six Irish counties still under British control. They’re politically separate from the Republic of Ireland, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely separate. The border between the Republic and the North is completely open with no guards, stops, or walls. It’s the only land border between Britain and the rest of Europe, and they can’t keep it the same way with the current plan. The border is a very sensitive issue and many are afraid it will re-awaken the violence of the Troubles (A conflict lasting between the 1960-90’s of mass terror attacks and brutality over Northern Irish independence vs loyalty to the British union). 

It all revolves around the Good Friday Agreement, also known as the Belfast Agreement, of 1998. This agreement is credited for the ongoing peace between the two nations and people are afraid it’s being overlooked in the higher courts. The New IRA (Irish Republican Army), a terrorist organization created in 2012 inspired by the Provisional IRA of the Troubles, is reported to be attracting younger recruits and that’s expected to increase with a no-deal. The ISC (Commons Intelligence and Security Committee) has labeled dissenting groups like the New IRA as a severe threat to public safety.

The struggle in Ireland would not start or end with the threat of terrorism. There are multiple reports of pharmaceutical companies increasing incoming medical supplies because they don’t know the cost or time checks it would take for it to be imported from Great Britain without EU trade rules. There’s also the fact that Northern Ireland hasn’t voted in favor of Brexit in any form. Along with Johnson’s Covid response, the topic of Irish unification is a hot topic once again. A recent poll shows that 45.4% of people in Northern Ireland support reuniting with the Republic, and 46.8% support staying with the UK. The Sinn Féin political party (operating in both the Republic and the North) has been using this to say that Ireland, in its entirety, should be independent as the British have shown to be too ‘erratic’ and ‘dangerous.’ 

On the same topic of independence from the United Kingdom, it is expected that a debate on Scottish independence will flare up as well. Brexit would not have the same extremist effect it would have over in Ireland. There is a lot of tension left over from the time of Anglo-superiority, but it’s not central anymore. Scotland is a very big country and many are in support for an independence claim. They see a future sitting among the EU council and NATO as a productive and sovereign nation. Another major motivation is that within the last few days it was leaked that Boris Johnson has been hiding Brexit plans from the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish governments. Being geographically closer would make the split more difficult, but recent studies show that an estimated 55% of Scottish citizens support the move for independence.


Works Cited

Carroll, Rolly. “Brexit: Ireland needs to press for reunification vote, says

     Sinn Féin.” The Guardian, 1 Oct. 2020,



Hammond, Andrew. “Surging Scottish support for independence threatens UK union.” 

     ArabNews, 10 Sept. 2020, 


Hoslet, Oliver. “EU says that no-deal Brexit becoming ever more likely.” The

     Independent, 6 Oct. 2020,




Leask, David. “Brexit Might Break Britain. What Will Scotland Do?” Foreign 

     Policy, 21 Sept. 2020, 



McGovern, Eimear. “Northern Ireland poll shows 45.4% back Irish unity and 46.8%

     support Union with UK.” Belfast Telegraph, 25 Feb. 2020,




O’Loughlin, Ciara. “Hard border in Northern Ireland ‘highly likely’ to increase 

     terrorist threats, UK government warned.” Independent,ie, 6 Oct. 2020, 




Payne, Adam. “Pharmaceutical companies say they are stockpiling medicines for 

     Brexit because they have no idea how the Northern Ireland border will 

     work.” Business Insider, 6 Oct. 2020, 



Percival, Richard. “Brexit bombshell: Leaked document shows Boris Johnson ‘hid 

     plans from devolved nations.'”, 6 Oct. 2020, 




“What is a ‘no-deal Brexit’?” BBC News, 19 Oct. 2019,