Peers back North freedom of movement following Brexit

The power to grant or deny freedom of movement to EU nationals within the North should be devolved to Stormont following Brexit, British peers have urged.

The House of Lords EU Committee said the power would be contained in a draft bilateral treaty which should be agreed between the UK and Ireland to protect the €60bn trade between the countries, subject to approval from the EU during exit negotiations.

Peers warned if the UK government and institutions of the EU failed to pay enough attention to the consequences of Brexit for Ireland, they risked undermining “the efforts of all those who have worked so hard for peace and good relations across these islands”.

The remaining 27-country bloc is reluctant to grant the UK free trading rights if limits are imposed on the movements of its citizens.

‘Brexit: UK-Irish Relations’ called for continuation of the open land border between the UK and Ireland and ease of movement across the sea boundary between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Also:

  • Maintenance of the Common Travel Area, free movement within it for UK and Irish citizens, and their right to reside and work in both countries;
  • Retention of the right to Irish (and therefore EU) citizenship for the people of Northern Ireland;
  • Reaffirmation by both governments of their commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and continued support for cross-border cooperation;
  • Continued access to EU funding for cross-border projects.

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