Sunak removes post-Brexit controls to defuse Northern Ireland crisis

To achieve this, the “Prime Minister” Rishi Sunak will abolish border controls for goods trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after Brexit Resolve the political crisis in Belfastwhere the regional executive was suspended for almost two years due to the boycott by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) trade unionists.

Protestants were never happy that separation from the EU left the British province behind a different status to the rest of the UK. But now they are satisfied because they say that after months of negotiations they have received the necessary guarantees to protect the British province. Therefore, barring any last-minute surprises, they are determined to restore activity at Stormont and finally allow the formation of a coalition government that For the first time in history it is led by the Sinn Fein Republicansthe former political arm of the IRA.

The 80-page pact document between central government and the DUP proposes changes so that new EU laws do not necessarily automatically apply in Northern Ireland. Creates a new body to promote Northern Ireland’s position in the UK internal market. And it contains new laws that would explicitly prohibit Northern Ireland from being excluded from the benefits of any future international treaties signed by London.

The agreement will be voted on in the House of Commons this Thursday where its approval is taken for granted as it has the support of the Labor opposition. Northern Ireland parties will later meet to choose a neutral speaker of the Belfast Assembly and could then decide to hold an extraordinary meeting on Saturday to allocate government departments in the region. It will be an unprecedented moment to see Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill become Northern Ireland’s first republican prime minister.

The pro-Irish won a historic victory in the regional elections in May 2022. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 -which sealed peace in Ulster – forces Catholics and Protestants to govern in a coalition. However, they refused to take their positions in protest against the new customs controls after Brexit.

Brussels did not take part in these latest negotiations but is expected to give its consent as the pact between central government and the DUP does not reflect the spirit of the Windsor Agreement reached between London and the EU last year changes to protect the internal market. In addition, the European Commission has proposed that, under Brexit-derived rules, Northern Irish companies will be able to use the UK’s tariff quotas with third countries for certain products such as New Zealand lamb.

The border between the Republic of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland – the only land border that currently exists between the United Kingdom and the bloc – has always been the biggest challenge of the arduous and interminable negotiations over the European divorce. On the one hand, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 had to be respected, which sealed peace between Catholics and Protestants and stipulated that there should be no hard border on the island. On the other hand, it was necessary to protect the internal market and prevent products entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain from entering the Republic of Ireland (a member of the EU).

The solution was to keep the British province of Northern Ireland within the Community regulatory area. But this terrified the DUP, particularly after the victory of the Sinn Féin Republicans, whose aim had always been to hold a reunification referendum on the island.

Jeffrey DonaldsonDUP leader assured yesterday that his aim for goods trade within the UK was to “remove the Irish Sea border and that is what we have achieved.” “There will be no controls, neither physical nor identity, about goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and remaining in the United Kingdom. “The only checks that will be carried out will be those on goods that enter or could enter the European Union,” he explained.

For his part, the Prime Minister thanked the DUP for its efforts and said the other parties had shown patience over the last two years. He stressed there was now a chance to get power-sharing back on track in Belfast, “strengthen our union and give people the responsible regional government they need”. “This will provide a better future for Northern Ireland,” he added.

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