The Prime Minister has confirmed that the European Union has marked a “decisive breakthrough” in post-Brexit trade deals for Northern Ireland.
Today, three years after the original Brexit deal, Rishi Sunak presented the “new Windsor framework” in a press conference with EU boss Ursula von der Leyen.
The agreement includes the Green Lane and Red Lane trade lanes – with goods remaining in the UK using the Green Lane to avoid customs red tape and goods entering the EU being dispatched down the Red Lane.
A landmark deal for medicines was also promised, as medicines approved for use by the UK Medicines Agency will automatically be available in every pharmacy and hospital in Northern Ireland.
The deal comes with a new ‘Stormont brake’ – a move aimed at ‘securing’ Northern Ireland’s sovereignty.
“The elected assembly can pull the brakes on changes to EU goods rules that would have a significant and lasting impact on everyday life,” Mr Sunak said. “If it is drawn, the British government has a veto.”
He has vowed that his deal “enables smooth trade across the UK, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our Union and safeguards the sovereignty of the people of Northern Ireland”.
But there are still hurdles to overcome as Britain’s leader must now try to garner support from unionists and Tory Eurosceptics.
Parliament will vote on the deal, “and that vote will be respected,” he announced today after officials previously refused to confirm.
In a speech on Monday, the British leader acknowledged that the UK and the EU “had our differences” but declared “the start of a new chapter in our relationship”.
He said: “The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement has existed for a quarter of a century because, at its core, it respects the aspirations and identities of all communities. Today’s agreement is about maintaining that delicate balance and charting a new path for the people of Northern Ireland.
“Today’s agreement ensures a smooth flow of trade within the UK. Goods destined for Northern Ireland will be transported via a new green lane, with a separate red lane for goods at risk of onward movement to the EU.
“Food retailers such as supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers will no longer need hundreds of certificates for every lorry and we will end the situation where food produced under UK regulations could not be sent to and sold in Northern Ireland. This means that if food is available on supermarket shelves in the UK, it will also be available on supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland.”
Referring to the process of sending parcels and VAT, he said: “It means we have removed any sense of a border in the Irish Sea. Secondly, we have protected Northern Ireland’s place in the Union.”
The Prime Minister hopes the deal gets the approval of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) so power-sharing can be restored in Northern Ireland to get Stormont back up and running.
Mr Sunak said he understood the parties want to examine the agreement in detail, “a process that will take time and care”.
Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson previously said: “We will take the time to look at the details and measure a deal against our seven tests.”
The value of the pound and Britain’s biggest companies fell as the Prime Minister and Mrs von der Leyen began speaking at the Windsor press conference.
Both Sterling and the FTSE 100 were higher earlier in the day on anticipation of a fresh Brexit deal but they gave back some of those gains during the press conference.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/27/northern-ireland-deal-rishi-sunak-sets-out-new-windsor-framework-18356352/ Northern Ireland deal: Rishi Sunak presents 'new Windsor framework'