Maintaining the Common Travel Area that has existed between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man has been set down by the UK Prime Minister as one of her government’s 12 key negotiating objectives. In this note, some of the functions of the CTA are described, and the possible threats to it from Brexit are explored. It is concluded that the flexibility and informality of the CTA means that while maintaining it in name is relatively easy, changes to its substance are likely. Close scruntiny of any changes to the reciprocal nature and substantive provisions of the CTA are therefore essential to assessing the success of this aspect of the UK government’s negotiations.
“There is no appetite for the return of the fortified border posts which were so emblematic of the Troubles. However, in choosing their words carefully, ministers have sought to reassure the Northern Irish public on the most extreme outcome (the hard border) while neglecting to address the other possible day-to-day impacts which Brexit will have on the island of Ireland.”