The European Union and the United Kingdom have reportedly reached a technical agreement on the post-Brexit future of Northern Ireland. Now the drama really begins. The details of the deal announced yesterday are still unclear, and the agreement is by no means final. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet will vote on the deal later today; if approved, it will go to the House of Commons for a vote. The prospects in both bodies are dim. The Republic of Ireland’s cabinet will hold an emergency session today, and even after news of the deal broke, its foreign minister said that “negotiators are still engaged.” For the EU, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – which means everything thus far is provisional.
The breakthrough came over the issue that most bedevils negotiators on all sides: Northern Ireland. To avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the EU wants Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union and single market until a new trade de