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脫歐困局中的北愛問題

2018/7/30 — 15:12

英國脫歐公投2016年6月24日舉行,以過百萬票差距通過脫歐。(資料圖片)

英國脫歐公投2016年6月24日舉行,以過百萬票差距通過脫歐。(資料圖片)

香港政府以國家安全為由取締香港民族黨。它與北愛相比,實在是笑話,陳浩天和他的支持者等人不學無術,不明白獨立運動在現實政治運作中的複雜問題。

英國的脫歐已到了最後階段,若果英國與歐盟不能達成協議,英國的經濟將嚴重受損,但文翠珊發現,她面臨一個重大的政治問題 ─ 北愛危機。

愛爾蘭

廣告

從地理上,愛爾蘭是英倫群島的一部份,但它有自已的語言,宗教以天主教為主,愛爾蘭民族自古便與英格蘭民族戰爭,它在16世紀被英倫征服,在18世紀被統一為大英聯邦,1921年愛爾蘭共和國獨立,但其北部土地留在英國之內,並觸發北愛的武裝獨立運動,60年代的兩派衝突導致3600人死亡,5萬人受傷。

北愛爾蘭

廣告

北愛爾蘭佔總人口的28.3%,佔愛爾蘭島總面積的16.75%。 根據2011年英國人口普查記錄,北愛爾蘭的人口為1,810,863。

據估計,約54%的北愛爾蘭選民支持聯合王國派(留英),42%支持獨立派(脱英)。在目前的108席的北愛爾蘭議會中,民主統一黨(聯合王國派)佔38席,新芬黨(獨立派)佔28席。

在2015年大選之後,北愛爾蘭在西敏寺有18名國會議員:11名為聯合王國派,7名為(愛爾蘭)民族主義派。新芬黨有四名國會議員,但因為它不承認英國的管轄權,因此杯葛西敏寺。脫歐影響北愛的現有政治勢力(註一)。

《貝爾法斯特協議》

1998年12月2日正式生效的《貝爾法斯特協議》結束了愛爾蘭共和軍的武裝反抗。《貝爾法斯特協議》涵蓋3個領域:

一,建立一個民主選舉產生的北愛爾蘭議會;

二,建立北/南愛爾蘭的部長級理事會;

三,建立英國 /愛爾蘭理事會和英國 / 愛爾蘭政府會議。

8. During the transitional period between the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly and the transfer of power to it, representatives of the Northern Ireland transitional Administration and the Irish Government operating in the North/South Ministerial Council will undertake a work programme, in consultation with the British Government, covering at least 12 subject areas, with a view to identifying and agreeing by 31 October 1998 areas where co-operation and implementation for mutual benefit will take place. Such areas may include matters in the list set out in the Annex.  

NORTH/SOUTH MINISTERIAL COUNCIL

1. Under a new British/Irish Agreement dealing with the totality of relationships, and related legislation at Westminster and in the Oireachtas, a North/South Ministerial Council to be established to bring together  those with executive responsibilities in Northern Ireland and the Irish Government, to develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland - including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis - on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the Administrations, North and South.

它容許北愛居民自行選擇為英國人、愛爾蘭人還是兩者。

(vi) recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.

現狀

北愛獨立運動是20年前的事,《貝爾法斯特協議》約相當於九二共識的各自表述。它容許北愛人民有權透過公投脫離英國聯合王國,與南部的愛爾蘭不設關口。愛爾蘭共和國雖然獨立,並自行加入了歐盟,但它與英國聯合王國也沒有什麼關口。它與英國在1923年協議以共同旅行區(Common Travel Area),容許自由出入。

英國政府與愛爾蘭共和國以「英國 /愛爾蘭理事會和英國 / 愛爾蘭政府會議」定期溝通;愛爾蘭共和國與北愛以「北/南愛爾蘭的部長級理事會」溝通,因此,愛爾蘭共和國與英國聯合王國的關係十分密切。

北愛雖然曾經打餐死,愛爾蘭共和國似乎不太熱衷。它享受貨物經英國港口運到歐洲多些,但由於脫歐談不攏可能斷了其財路,它開設了第一條海運直到歐洲的航線。愛爾蘭時報(Irish Times) 不太關心英國脫歐和北愛問題。

北愛在和平協議後,失業率大幅改善,在地區選舉中,強硬的新芬派被到內部的經濟派壓力。從大局看,愛爾蘭問題似乎是經濟問題和以維持現狀派為主。

《貝爾法斯特協議》雖然對獨立運動十分寬鬆,但由於北愛的新教徒與天主教徒的比例約為48%比45%,約11%會說愛爾蘭語,因此,北愛差不多不可能透過公投獨立。

愛爾蘭抗爭

脫歐令停止了多年的北愛亂局有復甦的可能。每年的7月12日博伊恩戰役紀念日是北愛的導火線。它有點像香港的六四集會。

當天,好戰的北愛爾蘭新教徒舉行的遊行,以紀念1690年新教徒在博伊恩戰役中戰勝天主教徒,導致愛爾蘭被英國聯合王國統治。這對北愛爾蘭的獨立派來說,這是撩交打的日子。

7月12日兩派衝突本來已停止了多年,今年,在文翠珊的貝爾法斯特(北愛首府)演講前,北愛德里經歷多年來最糟糕的抗議,連續第六個晚上,包括年僅8歲孩子的200多名示威者向途經汽車拋出74個汽油彈。幸而沒有做成人員死亡。(註4)

Thousands of Orange Order members took part in Twelfth of July parades across Northern Ireland on Thursday to mark the 1690 victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne.

硬海關

儘管歐盟和英國都強調脫歐後需要保障愛爾蘭利益,不應帶來南北愛的硬海關和邊界,但若脫歐不能達成協議,愛爾蘭共和國是歐盟一員,北愛是英國的一部份,問題就很大。它關係到歐盟與英國訂定一個十分複雜的協議以保障原有的共同旅行區(Common Travel Area )。這點已被歐盟一口拒絕。

「backstop」捕球網

「backstop」是捧球壘打後的捕球網。它被脫歐談判中被借用,意指,在談判失敗後,一種補救方案以維持現有的愛爾蘭自由旅行區。但歐盟接出的補救方案被文翠珊拒絕,文翠珊的補救方案也被歐盟質疑為不切實際。

“We were both explicit that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, consistent with the principle of consent in the Belfast Agreement.

And the report is also clear about the need to preserve the integrity of the UK’s internal market, which is vital to businesses the length and breadth of our country – not least here in Northern Ireland.

Yet the Commission’s proposed ‘backstop’ text does not deliver this.”---Teresa May

米歇爾.巴尼爾立場

歐盟首席脫歐事宜談判代表米歇爾.巴尼爾表明,捕球網只涉及貨品不涉及人員往來。

• Our backstop solution only concerns goods – not people. People will continue to move freely between Ireland and the UK. And obviously between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. We agreed to protect the Common Travel Area. That was important progress.  • And regulatory alignment with the Single Market would be strictly limited to what is needed to avoid a hard border, notably for goods.

在愛爾蘭問題上他表明三個原則

一,沒有捕球網就沒有脫歐協,這不單是愛爾蘭事情,這是歐盟的事情。

To be clear: without a backstop, there can be no Withdrawal Agreement. This is an EU issue, not only an Irish issue. 

二,捕球網不是談判策略,它不是要改變英國的底線。它是由英國的底線做成的。

The backstop is not there to change the UK's red lines. It is there because of the UK's red lines.

三,脫歐後歐盟貨品進出北愛必須完全符合歐盟的單一市場和聯合關稅規定。

goods entering Northern Ireland must comply with the rules of the Single Market and the Union Customs Code.

《白皮書》

文翠珊面臨脫歐談判的死期。她必須要在今年十月前完全談判,以便歐盟讓其27個成員國在國內通過,在明年三年正式啟動脫歐。

文翠珊制訂了一份半桶水的白皮書,被此她犧牲了兩位閣員。倫敦市長鮑里斯.強森在國會的辭職發言中說:“it became taboo even to discuss technical fixes.”他主張以新技術來處理愛爾蘭海關的問題,但文翠珊一口咬定,這種技術並未出世。

文翠珊在白皮書中提出一個全球從未試過的「一地一檢」方法,英國為歐盟收關稅,這被歐盟拒絕。文翠珊提出只在農作物等實物,不包括服務,向歐盟讓步,接受歐盟法規,但對未來新規定如何處理呢?實貨和服務是否可以分開處理?不接受歐洲法院可以嗎?英國的「議會主權」傳統如何解決?有否讓渡了法律自主?這一切文翠珊都無法回答,但白皮書又是英國的最後通牒。

北愛的議會真空

脫歐可能越來越變成政治問題。由於新芬黨杯葛北愛爾蘭議會,根據憲法,北愛爾蘭議會停止運作了18個月至今。英國政府以公務員制度維持北愛運作。但它在設立環保垃圾焚燒廠上觸了礁。

Court ruling on civil servants could have major impact on Northern Ireland decision-making

由公務員批准的一個巨型垃圾焚燒廠計劃被貝爾法斯特高等法院推翻。判詞表示高級公務員無權代表議會作重大決策。

貝爾法斯特演講

文翠珊表示:

“白皮書取回我們的邊境控制;取回我們的財政控制權,不用毎年向歐盟支付費用;取回我們的法律控制權,結束歐洲法院的管轄權;讓我們可以自由地與其他國家訂定自由貿易。”

她雖然答允一個沒有硬關卡的愛爾蘭,但她被新芬黨批評為到北愛撩交打。

討論

看來英國脫歐前協議的好夢將成空。英國拒絕歐盟在其愛爾蘭島區內設立特別關稅區的建議將迫使歐盟在愛爾蘭設立硬海關。這有可能重燃北愛獨立運動。

對那些視英國為祖國的港獨來說,他們可能面臨一個難題 — 支持英國鎮壓愛爾蘭獨立運動,還是參加北愛共和軍呢?

 

 

———

備註

註一
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/08/nationalists-northern-ireland-elections-good-friday-agreement

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nireland-politics/northern-ireland-peacemakers-warn-of-new-dangers-20-years-on-idUKKBN1HH1XW

https://www.ft.com/content/2ce333fa-4796-11e7-8d27-59b4dd6296b8

註一
Theresa May’s Brexit speech may break the Northern Ireland peace process
By Henry Farrell
July 19 at 7:33 PM

On Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver a speech at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. Its contents have been widely leaked. May is set to denounce the “backstop” her government negotiated with the European Union as part of the Brexit agreement. She will say that the proposal would breach the Belfast Agreement that secured peace in Northern Ireland and leave the people of Northern Ireland without any representation in trade negotiations. She will say that “the economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal ‘third country’ customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and I believe no British prime minister could ever accept. And as they made clear this week, it is not something the House of Commons will accept either.”

This speech is a very big deal. The backstop arrangement is a crucial part of Brexit negotiations. It also may have major consequences for peace in Northern Ireland. May’s hostility to the backstop probably doesn’t have much to do with constitutional principle. It is more likely driven by politics within her own political party, and the demands of the Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up May’s minority government.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I want to ensure that the U.K. remains one of the best places in the world for aerospace companies to do business." (Reuters)

Peace and borders are closely connected in Northern Ireland

To understand what is going on, it’s first necessary to understand the role that the European Union played in the Irish peace process. The shared E.U. “customs union” and a “single market” avoided the need for border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This not only made it possible for the two economies to become highly integrated. It also had symbolic importance, in allowing people and goods to move back and forth between the two jurisdictions, without any necessary implication that Northern Ireland would become politically united with the Republic.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has politicized border controls, raising the question of how to reconcile the fact that the Republic of Ireland is still in the European Union, and operates under E.U. customs and market rules, and Northern Ireland soon will not. Unionists — who want to stay part of Britain — do not want any arrangement in which Northern Ireland would have separate rules from Britain. They fear that this might lead Northern Ireland to drift politically closer to the Republic. Republicans and nationalists — and the government of the Republic of Ireland — do not want any arrangement in which Northern Ireland would have a “hard border” with the Republic. The problem is that it is difficult to avoid a hard border, without some kind of special rules and status for Northern Ireland.

This is why the Northern Ireland border question was supposed to be settled before Brexit negotiations proper began. It turned out to be impossible to reach a deal on what to do with Northern Ireland’s status, but E.U. negotiators and the Republic of Ireland accepted a compromise under which Britain agreed on a “backstop” arrangement. The European Union and Ireland interpreted this deal as saying that if no better mutually acceptable arrangement could be found, Northern Ireland would stay in the European Union’s Single Market and Customs Union, allowing the real negotiations to begin.

Britain is backpedaling on the backstop

Britain always wanted to interpret the backstop commitment more flexibly than the European Union. It tried to persuade the European Union to accept a deal under which Britain would stay inside E.U. customs and market arrangements for some period while it sorted out its own long-term status, but would not be bound by the broader commitments of E.U. membership. The European Union made it clear that this proposal was unacceptable, because it would plausibly allow Britain an enormous degree of freedom both in terms of when it decided to leave, and how it interpreted its obligations toward Europe.

Furthermore, pro-Brexit members of the Conservative Party, who had once promised that Britain would remain part of the customs union, now want a much “harder” Brexit than they once said they did. Theresa May, fearing that pro-Brexiters would split her party and perhaps force her resignation as leader, agreed last week to terms imposed by the pro-Brexit faction. One of her concessions was a change to the British customs bill that declared that it would be unlawful for Northern Ireland to be “part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain.” This meant that Britain has legally pre-committed itself to refusing to implement the backstop that the European Union thought had already been agreed.

The politics of the backstop are not being driven by constitutional worries, but by Britain’s inability to get the European Union to agree to a fudged agreement on customs and single market membership, the intransigence of May’s own party members, and the weakness of May’s leadership. It is furthermore likely that the Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up May’s government, has also demanded that there be no arrangement that would distinguish Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain.

This may destabilize Brexit negotiations — and Northern Ireland

May’s speech will have stark consequences for Britain’s Brexit negotiations. She is presenting the European Union with a fait accompli, binding her government to a negotiating position that the European Union has made it clear it will not accept. It is theoretically possible that this will work to her advantage. Sometimes, as political scientists such as Robert Putnam have argued, weakness at home may turn into strength abroad. If you are too weak, you won’t be able to implement concessions that other governments would like you to make. However, the danger of weakness is that you may be caught in a position that is simply unacceptable to other countries’ negotiators, so that no deal is possible. This is the big risk that May is taking. If her new demands are unacceptable to the European Union, Britain will find itself in a “no deal” Brexit that could have very damaging consequences for the British economy.

Furthermore, the speech’s intransigence is likely to have consequences within Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s peace deal was already in serious danger, as a result of distrust between the major parties. May’s speech is likely to be interpreted by nationalists as a strong signal that she is in the pocket of the Democratic Unionist Party. Already, nationalists are having difficulty restraining radicals from returning to “the armed struggle.” May’s speech is likely to add greatly to their difficulties.

Henry Farrell

Henry Farrell is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

註四

The bright future I want to help build for Northern Ireland is one in which everyone, regardless of their community background or political aspirations, is able to live happy and fulfilling lives and to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

I want to say, too, that I share your concern about the episodes of serious disorder in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry last week.

This Government - like the communities here - has been absolutely clear in condemning this activity, which is a matter of deep concern for everyone who wants to see a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland.

This violence is not representative of the wider community and I pay tribute to the brave officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the emergency services and others in the community who worked tirelessly to keep people safe.

We are all committed to making sure that Northern Ireland continues to move forward.

------------Teresa May

註五

In fact, there already are. There can be checks away from the border, and technical solutions as the Prime Minister rightly described at Mansion House. But when I, and other colleagues – and I single out my honourable friend the Right Honourable member from Haltemprice and Howden, proposed further technical solutions to make customs and regulatory checks remotely. Those proposals were never even properly examined, as if such solutions had become intellectually undesirable in the context of the argument. And somehow, after the December joint  report, whose backstop arrangement we were all told was entirely provisional, never to be invoked, it became taboo even to discuss technical fixes.

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