500+ participants / 80+ speakers / 20+ panels


Day 3

09:00 – 10:00

Reflecting on Progress: 25 Years of the Good Friday Agreement

The Good Friday Agreement was signed 25 years ago. The deal, brokered by the Irish and British governments, by most political parties in Northern Ireland, and approved by public votes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, brought to the end 30 years of violent conflict in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles. The Good Friday Agreement was based on the idea of cooperation between communities. It set up a new government for Northern Ireland, representing both republicans and unionists. In 2016, the Brexit vote threatened to compromise the hard-fought agreement, as Northern Ireland became the only part of the UK to have a land border with an EU country – the Republic of Ireland, thus possibly requiring a hard border between the two. Yet, aware that such an outcome could threaten both the Good Friday Agreement and cross-border cooperation, both sides reached a compromise because it was feared the cross-border cooperation could be threatened if new checkpoints were to be set up. How lasting is this Agreement, and will it overcome future challenges? What are the necessary political, economic preconditions for a lasting compromise, and is the Irish-UK experience transferable to other conflicts in the World, including the Western Balkans?

Peter Shirlow
Sally Axworthy
David Cooney
Sofija Todorović




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