UK and EU reach deal to solve post-Brexit trade dispute in N. Ireland
They named it the "Windsor Framework" and hailed it as a "new chapter" in post-Brexit relations.
The UK and the EU have reached an agreement on Monday to solve a long-standing dispute on regulating trade in Northern Ireland.
"I believe the Windsor Framework marks a turning point for the people of Northern Ireland," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told a news conference today in the joint presence of EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in Windsor. "This is the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship. We may have had our differences in the past but we are allies, trading partners, and friends."
Von der Leyen confirmed that the deal was a "new chapter" and will strengthen EU-UK relations.
Today's agreement marks a turning point for the people of Northern Ireland.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) February 27, 2023
It fixes the practical problems they face.
It preserves the balance of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.
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Next step, the deal must be approved by the British Parliament and Northern Ireland. Sunak did not specify the timeframe but vowed to submit the deal for a vote "at the appropriate time, and that vote will be respected".
According to Sunak, the deal is intended to remove a de facto customs border that was set up in the Irish Sea to protect the EU single market and maintain peace with Northern Ireland.
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He added that consumers will no longer be deprived of the same products that are sold in the UK and that the same medical products will be made available in Northern Ireland's pharmacies.
Sunak, celebrating his great new Brexit deal— Russ Jones (@RussInCheshire) February 27, 2023
"This means if food is available on supermarket shelves in Britain, it will be available on supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland".
It is uncertain whether the deal will come to pass or not in a parliamentary vote since the European Court of Justice retains more leverage in administering the deal.
"The ECJ will have the final say on EU law and single market issues," von der Leyen said.
Talks between both sides are now underway to allow the UK to rejoin the "Horizon" program for scientific cooperation, she noted.
As London and Brussels reached a new post-Brexit trade agreement, the nationalist Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland urged the pro-UK Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to halt its blockade of a power-sharing administration.
"I welcome the fact that a deal has been done," Sinn Fein's first minister-elect Michelle O'Neill told reporters, adding "And I encourage the DUP to join with the rest of the parties and actually make politics work here."
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