25th anniversary of Good Friday Agreement - and Brexit
On 10 April 1998, the Good Friday Agreement ended decades of violent conflict in Northern Ireland. US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will speak in Belfast today, Tuesday, to mark the occasion. Commentators discuss the anniversary in the context of the current dispute over the new Windsor Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol which has flared in the wake of Brexit.
Brussels and Biden are biased
The EU and the US are wrong to mostly favour the pro-Irish nationalists in the conflict, the Daily Telegraph argues:
“Whenever Washington or Brussels take an interest in the affairs of Northern Ireland, it is invariably the Unionists rather than the nationalists who are singled out as the cause of any instability. They remain suspicious of President Biden, whose Irish antecedents and past pronouncements on the subject are seen as making him a partisan observer. He will need to be careful to avoid lecturing the Unionists about their absence from Stormont given Sinn Féin’s boycott a few years ago.”
Political blockade is deterring big investors
Northern Ireland lacks political stability today because the largest unionist party, the DUP, has boycotted the regional parliament for 14 months, The Irish Times complains:
“There have been clear benefits to the economies of Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic, even if both continue to lag behind the strong-performing regions south of the Border. The huge surge of investment into the Republic in the past two decades was helped by peace on the island. ... However, to really build on this, political stability is needed. Potential investors need to see that politicians in Stormont are committed to making the new arrangements work. Otherwise the opportunity may well be lost. For big investors, certainty counts for a lot.”