Conference on the future relationship of Northern Ireland and the EU

Beyond the border: The implications of Brexit for the Island of Ireland

11:00 - 14:30
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Conference on the future relationship of Northern Ireland and the EU

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Brexit and the ongoing uncertainty linked to the protocol and its delayed implementation have had profound legislative, social, and economic effects on Northern Ireland (NI). A unique status has been set for NI under the Windsor Framework, where NI remains part of the United Kingdom (UK) customs territory while enforcing the European Union (EU) Customs Code. NI will essentially remain in the EU single market and accordingly applies the necessary regulations and checks. In addition, all citizens of NI retain rights to Irish and consequently EU citizenship under the Good Friday agreement. There are further complications linked to the role of the European Court of Justice and the application of aspects of EU law in Northern Ireland.

FEPS organised this event in collaboration with Think Tank for Action on Social Change (TASC), Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), and Queen Mary University, London.

This event looked at two central areas:

  1. How to realise a positive vision for Northern Ireland under the Windsor Framework?
  2. What would a future relationship between Northern Ireland and the European Union look like?

The event brought together local councillors, MLAs, NGOs and community organisations, academics, researchers, and representatives from the public sector.

This event featured an ‘in conversation’ session between Pedro Silva Pereira, Vice President of the European Parliament, and senior political representatives from Northern Ireland including Kate Nicholl, Alliance MLA and former Lord Mayor of Belfast. The findings from research related to the two central questions were presented, followed by consultative workshop sessions. The aim of these sessions was to generate discussion and produce recommendations

Among the speakers:

  • Pedro Silva Pereira, MEP S&D Group, and Vice President of the European Parliament
  • Matthew O’Toole, Leader of the Opposition in the Northern Ireland Assembly and SDLP MLA for South Belfast
  • Kate Nicholl, Alliance MLA for South Belfast and former Lord Mayor of Belfast
  • Sara Singleton, Senior Researcher at TASC, Dublin
  • Patrick Diamond, Professor at Queen Mary University, London
  • Barry Colfer, Director of research at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA)

For more information about this public event and the collective, please contact Céline Guedes, Project Officer, at

Queen Mary University of London
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