Britain, the Six and the World Economy
The European Community and 1992
Britain in the New Europe
Europe's Endangered Liberal Order
The Importance of Being English: Eyeing the Sceptered Isles
What If the British Vote No?
The End of Europe?
Letter From London: One Market, Many Peoples
Will the Crash Scuttle the European Project?
Saving the Euro, Dividing the Union
Could Europe's Deeper Integration Push the United Kingdom Out?
The New British Politics
What the UKIP Victory and the Scottish Referendum Have in Common
The United Kingdom’s Retreat From Global Leadership
Should It Stay or Should It Go?
The Brexistential Crisis
Putting a Safety Valve on Democracy
The Conservative Case Against Brexit
Euroskepticism's Biggest Fallacy
Why Brexit Would Benefit Europe
The Pragmatic Case for Brexit
The New Divided Kingdom
A Brexit Post-Mortem
Life After Brexit
Brexit's False Democracy
What the Vote Really Revealed
The Roots of Brexit
1992, 2004, and European Union Expansion
The Irish Question
The Consequences of Brexit
Scotland After Brexit
Will It Leave the United Kingdom?
The Swiss Model
Why It Won't Work for the United Kingdom
NATO After Brexit
Will Security Cooperation Work?
A Brexiteer's Celebration
A Conversation with Kwasi Kwarteng
A Remainer’s Lament
A Conversation With Ed Balls
May's Brexit Mastery
Time for the United Kingdom to Move On
The United Kingdom’s historic decision to leave the EU has stunned Brussels and sent shock waves through Europe. The Scottish government has threatened to hold a second referendum on independence, jeopardizing the kingdom’s unity. And in Ireland, the vote threatens to derail a fragile peace process and undermine a recent economic recovery.
Over the past four decades, the EU has transformed Ireland’s relationship with the United Kingdom. Before both countries joined the bloc, in 1973, Ireland had achieved political but not economic independence. Its economy was rural and underdeveloped, leaving it reliant on British markets for its products. In the words of the French author Jean Blanchard, Ireland was an “island behind an island,” its ties with its larger neighbor defined by a combination of supplication and resentment.
EU membership drew the poison out of the relationship. It provided Ireland with new markets and a fresh political forum in which it remade its partnership with the United Kingdom and its European neighbors. Over a period of a few decades, Ireland’s agricultural economy was transformed into a postindustrial one, undergoing, in quick succession, a massive economic boom, a nasty crash, and a partial recovery. As Ireland grew, it stopped defining its identity solely in relation to the United Kingdom and instead began to see itself as a small, successful northern European state.
Ireland did not have to choose between Europe and the United Kingdom, since the latter was also a member of the EU. Sometimes, Ireland was constrained by its larger neighbor, as when it declined to join the EU’s Schengen scheme for border-free travel—despite the Irish government’s desire to do so—on the grounds that it already had a similar arrangement with the United Kingdom, which did not want to join the Schengen area. Usually, however, the tradeoffs were uncomplicated and easy to accommodate.
After last week, however, Ireland will no longer be able to have it both ways. If it wants to maintain good
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