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Von der Leyen and Sunak: Agreement on amending the Northern Ireland Protocol opens a new chapter



How will unionists in Northern Ireland take the deal?

With the agreement in principle on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU and the United Kingdom are opening a new chapter in their relations, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in Windsor.

The Northern Ireland Protocol governs trade issues following the UK’s exit from the EU. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak explained that the Windsor framework agreed today will enable trade without barriers across the country.

We reached an agreement in principle on the Windsor framework. Based on this new framework, we will be able to start a new chapter. It provides long-term solutions that we both believe will work for all people and businesses in Northern Ireland. Solutions that directly address their concerns,” said the President of the Commission after the agreement in principle on the Northern Ireland Protocol was confirmed Ursula von der Leyen.

The British Prime Minister also said that the agreement represents the beginning of a new chapter in relations between the EU and the United Kingdom. “VI believe we have found ways to address the uncertainty and challenges for the people of Northern Ireland,” he emphasized.

Green and red belts to eliminate “customs red tape”

Sunak explained that the Windsor framework modifies the Northern Ireland Protocol and will, among other things, enable unimpeded trade across the UK.

Namely, it introduces green belts for goods destined for Northern Ireland from the rest of the country. This will mean the elimination of “customs red tape”. Red belts will be introduced for goods that are at risk of entering the EU, which means maintaining the current customs rules. In this regard, Brussels explained that minimum requirements and controls will apply to agricultural and food products. The more safeguards they introduce, the less control there will be, they explained.

According to Sunak, London also protected the Northern Ireland city of the United Kingdom with the Windsor frame. Thus, according to the new medicine, which will be approved by the competent British agency, will also be available in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s unionists have yet to scrutinize the deal
Northern Ireland Unionist Party (DUP) leader Jeffrey Donaldson warned there were still “issues of concern” after the agreement between London and Brussels on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. His party will study the details of the deal before deciding whether to join the Northern Ireland government. The nationalist Sinn Fein party, meanwhile, welcomed the deal, but they also have yet to scrutinize it. Deputy party leader Michelle O’Neill called on unionists to end their boycott of government. Northern Irish unionists from the DUP party refuse to participate in the government in Belfast due to disagreement with the protocol, which has left Northern Ireland in a political crisis for a year.

One of the aims of the Northern Ireland Protocol was to prevent

The Northern Ireland Parliament can decide on European legislation

Today’s agreement also guarantees the sovereignty of the people of Northern Ireland, Sunak also assured. The Northern Ireland regional parliament will now be able to prevent European legislation regarding goods from applying in Northern Ireland.

As EU sources explained, 30 members of the 90-member Stormont will be able to request from the British government that certain changes to existing EU legislation related to the protocol do not apply in Northern Ireland. This will be possible in the case of legislation that would have a significant and lasting impact on the daily life of residents and is intended as a last resort.

Both Sunak and von der Leyen also emphasized that the Windsor framework will ensure the preservation of the peace brought about by the Easter Agreement 25 years ago.

The agreement needs the support of the British Parliament and the Council of the EU

The British Prime Minister also announced that the British Parliament would vote on the deal, wanting to give the parties time to study it. He assured that he would take into account the outcome of the vote. The largest opposition party, Labor, has already said it supports the deal.

Meanwhile, the European Commission sent three legislative proposals to the EU Council and the European Parliament for consideration. Certain changes will be introduced by a joint committee to oversee the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, whereby the committee will need the support of the Council, which includes the member states of the Union.

Complications at the border after Brexit

The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force after the United Kingdom left the European Union and was supposed to prevent the establishment of border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Indeed, the country remained part of the common market and customs area of ​​the European Union even after Brexit, and to avoid border controls, goods destined for Northern Ireland are inspected after they leave Great Britain. This, in turn, led to the opposition of hard Brexiteers and unionists in Northern Ireland, which again caused great political tensions in this part of the Irish island, reported RTV Slovenia’s correspondent from Brussels, Igor Jurič.

Brussels and London therefore sought practical solutions throughout the negotiations that would eliminate complications in the control of goods. Even today’s agreement does not yet bring a final solution, because the question is whether Eurosceptic members of Sunak’s conservative party and, of course, unionists in Northern Ireland will agree to it, Igor Jurič also reported.

Source: Rtvslo

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