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 Windsor Framework Brexit deal infographic
Graphic shows main details of the Windsor Framework trade deal.


Northern Ireland trade deal

By Duncan Mil

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.

PUBLISHED: 28/02/2023; STORY: Graphic News