London: The United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) concluded on Monday a new post-Brexit trade arrangement for Northern Ireland.
The agreement – dubbed the “Windsor Framework” – was struck over the Northern Ireland Protocol, aiming to ease the trading issues created by the protocol.
After months of negotiations, the deal was announced by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after their meeting in Windsor near London.
Sunak said on social media that the agreement “delivers smooth flowing trade within the whole UK, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our Union, safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.”
The two sides have removed “any sense of a border in the Irish Sea,” and goods staying in the UK will use a new green lane with a separate red lane for goods moving to the EU, Sunak said.
“We’ve amended the legal text of the (Northern Ireland) Protocol to ensure we can make critical VAT (value-added tax) and excise changes for the whole of the UK,” he said. Also, with a settlement on medicines, drugs approved for use by the UK’s medicines regulator will be automatically available in every pharmacy and hospital in Northern Ireland.
A new so-called “Stormont Brake” was also introduced. It will alow the elected Northern Ireland Assembly to stop EU goods laws that would have “significant and lasting effects on everyday lives.” When pulled, “the UK government will have a veto,” the prime minister said.
“This gives Northern Ireland a powerful safeguard,” he said.