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Brexit: What is the Northern Ireland protocol?

Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit buying and selling preparations — a algorithm known as the Northern Ireland protocol — are once more in the headlines amid UK threats to unilaterally rip up elements of the deal.

It follows months of negotiations between London and Brussels aimed toward lowering commerce friction between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

But Liz Truss, the overseas secretary, who is additionally answerable for the talks, mentioned she won’t “shy away” from taking motion on the Protocol, warning some proposals put ahead by the EU would “take us backwards”.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which got here second in final week’s Assembly elections in NI, has additionally warned Boris Johnson it will not nominate a deputy first minister to type an government till “decisive action” is taken on the Protocol.

But what is the Northern Ireland protocol all about?

The NI protocol was agreed as a part of the Brexit deal — signed by Boris Johnson — and is designed to guard the Good Friday Agreement by avoiding a tough border on the island of Ireland.

To enable items to maneuver freely between NI and the Republic of Ireland and keep away from that tough border, NI remained in the EU’s single market for items.

But NI additionally stayed in GB’s market too as a result of it is nonetheless a part of the UK.

Irish Sea border

After Brexit, NI’s border with the ROI additionally turned the UK’s new border with the EU.

And as a result of the UK and the EU now observe completely different customs guidelines, there wanted to be a border someplace on the island of Ireland.

As an answer, the UK and EU authorities agreed to a deal that might see customs checks at NI’s ports, making a de facto border down the Irish Sea, which is now generally known as the ‘Irish Sea border’.

Why are the DUP and unionists not pleased with the new preparations?

There has been some disruption to commerce as a result of checks are required on some items coming into NI from GB and vice versa.

This is as a result of the UK not follows EU customs guidelines, whereas NI continues to take action.

The most onerous checks are on animal and plant-based merchandise as a result of the UK and EU observe completely different requirements on these things.

The full vary of checks has not but been carried out with a variety of grace durations nonetheless operating.

This disruption to commerce has angered the unionist group. But maybe extra importantly, unionists consider the new association has lower NI adrift from the remainder of the UK.

Unionists, who outline themselves as British, say the protocol poses an existential menace to NI’s constitutional standing inside the UK.

What is Article 16?

Article 16 is a technical time period given to a Brexit clause that permits the UK and the EU to droop any a part of the settlement that causes “economic, societal or environmental difficulties”.

The DUP say the Irish Sea border ticks these containers and is due to this fact calling on Mr Johnson to set off the clause to take away parts of the protocol.

The prime minister has beforehand mentioned he would take into account triggering Article 16. But neither he nor the DUP has set out what would change the protocol.

What has the EU mentioned?

In a press release on Tuesday afternoon, European Commission vp Maros Sefcovic mentioned renegotiation of the protocol was “not an option”, and that unilateral motion by the UK would make work on potential options “more difficult”.

“The EU has been open to joint work with the UK on implementing the protocol to bring long-term legal certainty and predictability to the people and businesses in Northern Ireland,” he mentioned.

“The EU remains open to such discussions. Only joint solutions will work. Unilateral action by the UK would only make our work on possible solutions more difficult.

“The protocol, as a cornerstone of the Withdrawal Agreement, is an international agreement. Its renegotiation is not an option. The European Union is united in this position.”

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