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Rishi Sunak Agrees Deal With EU Over Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol

Rishi Sunak Agrees Deal With EU Over Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol – The post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol dispute has been resolved by Rishi Sunak through an agreement with the EU. At a joint press conference with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, in Windsor, the prime minister said: “We have now made a decisive breakthrough. Together, we have changed the original protocol, and are today announcing the new Windsor framework,” he said.

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He said the deal would help restore the previously strained relationship with the EU and go much further than previously thought to fix the “democratic deficit” by giving Stormont ministers a direct say in EU laws applying to Northern Ireland. “This is the beginning of a new chapter in a relationship,” he said. He said the deal “fixes the problems” consumers face and helps guarantee the future of peace and stability.

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The UK and the EU would deliver this through “three major steps” removing customs paperwork for consumers, guaranteeing medical supplies in the long term and a new “Stormont break” allowing assembly ministers a say on EU laws allowing them to “stop them applying” in Northern Ireland. The EU is understood to have made further compromises to deliver a deal that she believes will satisfy all communities including the Democratic Unionist party in a “new chapter” for all.

“Above all we had to listen to the concerns of the people of Northern Ireland,” she said. After four months of intense negotiations led by Sunak, along with James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, and Chris Heaton-Harris, the Northern Ireland secretary, the agreement was reached. However, Sunak may still have concerns about potential resistance from hardline pro-Brexit groups such as the European Research Group and the Democratic Unionist Party, who aim to completely scrap the protocol.

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At the heart of the revised pact are three main issues: physical controls and checks on trade to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, the role of the European court of justice and the application of EU law and the place of Northern Ireland in the UK’s internal market. It is understood that the majority of controls and checks will disappear on goods destined to remain in Northern Ireland and the role of the ECJ as the ultimate arbiter of disputes will be removed. 

According to a proposal by former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, the EU will no longer have the automatic right to launch infraction proceedings, and Stormont ministers will now have access to new EU laws as they are being drafted. 

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This proposal, based on Norway’s relationship with the EU, could enable Stormont representatives to object to new laws and possibly have them disapproved in Northern Ireland by the EU. In addition, there is an anticipated agreement that will grant Westminster the authority to set VAT and state aid rules, rather than Brussels. This is a significant concession by the EU, as both VAT and state aid regulations are currently outlined in the protocol.

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