Northern Ireland and the European Union
The policy dynamics
in Northern Ireland and the European Union
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The introduction of devolution fundamentally changed the nature of the policy-making and policy-implementing process in Northern Ireland. It also required that local political actors in Northern Ireland refocus their attentions away from the constitutional question and consider broader policy questions. This chapter details the growing pervasiveness of EU policies and outlines the extent to which the increasing policy competence of the Union impacts on the policy remit of the Northern Ireland devolved unit. The region’s response to this new policy environment is identified via an examination of a series of official policy documents produced by the Northern Ireland Executive, Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Commission since 1999. The chapter notes that the development of a vision for Northern Ireland’s engagement with the EU has tentatively emerged. Pronouncements in relation to managing and directing the EU agenda suggest the emergence of a more advanced and sophisticated engagement with the EU. Importantly, these dynamics and developments were aided by direct engagement between Belfast and Brussels – a situation which was permitted by the UK government. Progress in the EU policy domain has been dependent on the domestic national political arena and is not solely attributable to new and novel forms of governance.

Northern Ireland and the European Union

The dynamics of a changing relationship

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