Northern Ireland trade deal
February 28, 2023 - Britain and the European Union have struck a landmark agreement -- the Windsor Framework -- to replace the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol and end a bitter post-Brexit trade dispute.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen struck the accord on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland on Monday (February 27, 2023), saying the two sides had agreed to remove “any sense of a border” between Britain and its province.
Sunak said this new system would deliver “smooth flowing trade within the whole United Kingdom.”
While the Windsor Framework still needs formal approval on both sides, it could resolve the tensions caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Under the protocol the province could not adopt domestic VAT rate changes -- these will now be extended to Northern Ireland.
The accord’s success will likely depend on whether it convinces the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to end its boycott of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing arrangements.
Unionists opposed the Protocol’s requirement that the province had to automatically implement new or updated EU single market rules.
The deal hands an “emergency brake” to the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont if 30 of the 90 members from at least two parties vote to block updated EU single market laws.
The unionists were central to the 1998 peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of sectarian and political violence in Northern Ireland.