Withdrawal Agreement Ireland Protocol

Withdrawal Agreement Ireland Protocol

On 17 December 2020, the Joint Committee (chaired by Gove and Šefčovič) agreed on a number of documents to give concrete effect to the agreement. [63] The Protocol is due to enter into force on 1 January 2021, the first day of the new relationship between the EU and the UK. In the summer of 2021, the Council of Loyalist Communities, which represents many loyalist paramilitary groups active during the riots, invoked protocol to justify their withdrawal from the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, under which many of its members were granted early release from prison. [35] The Council then announced that politicians from the Republic were no longer welcome in Northern Ireland. [36] This was seen by these groups as an escalation of the threat and a possible return to violence. [Citation needed] The agreement provided for a three-month deadline (which was concluded on 31 September). End of March 2021) to give retailers, wholesalers and logistics companies time to adjust to the new rules on the movement of goods from Britain to Northern Ireland. Anger over the protocol helped increase tensions within the Unionist community, leading to street violence in Belfast`s Sandy Row area on April 2, 2021. Up to 300 people were involved in riots, 15 police officers were injured and there were 8 arrests. [34] Eight prominent trade unionists who negotiated the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, including David Trimble, called for the suspension of the Northern Ireland Protocol in May 2021. [5] According to Article 2 of the Protocol, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU must not lead to a reduction in rights, guarantees and equal opportunities in the 1998 Belfast Agreement. This provision also protects specific EU anti-discrimination measures set out in Annex 1 to the Protocol. In this article, the United Kingdom also agrees to facilitate the work of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Equality Commission and the Joint Committee of the island`s two human rights commissions.

Under an agreement known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, goods do not need to be checked along the Irish border when new relations between the UK and the EU begin on 1 January. How does it work? Article 4 confirms that Northern Ireland is and will remain an integral part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is therefore part of the UK`s future trade agreements and there is nothing in the protocol to prevent an agreement allowing exports from Northern Ireland on the same basis as that of Great Britain. It was a member of the European Communities (EC) and its successor, the European Union (EU), from its accession in 1973 to its withdrawal in 2020 after a referendum in 2016. In its half-year financial report dated 26 August 2021, the Irish continental group, which operates ferries between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, expressed concern that goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain had not carried out controls, as required by the Protocol. The company stated that the continued absence of these controls (for goods destined for the Republic of Ireland) distorts a level playing field, as goods arriving directly from the UK at the Republic of Ireland`s ports are screened on arrival. [68] In accordance with Article 1 of the Protocol, it is without prejudice to the provisions of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (or Belfast Agreement) on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent. The 1998 agreement stipulates that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and that this position will not change without the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland voting in a referendum. Consent will continue to be requested on a regular basis as long as the Protocol remains in force.

In the officially negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, the “Irish backstop” was removed and replaced by this new protocol. The whole of the UK would leave the EU customs union as a single customs territory, with Northern Ireland included in all future UK trade agreements, but Northern Ireland would adopt EU single market rules on goods, thus remaining a point of entry into the EU customs union. [23] This would prevent a “hard border” on the island of Ireland. Article 2 of the Protocol contains certain measures to protect human rights and equality, and specific EU measures against discrimination are listed in Annex 1. In this case, the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Protocol established under the Withdrawal Agreement will make recommendations to the UK and the EU on alternatives to avoid a hard border and protect the Good Friday Agreement. The options available depend on the nature of the EU-UK trade deal in place at the time. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland was conceived as a stable and sustainable solution and will apply in parallel with any future Partnership Agreement. The protocol on Northern Ireland is to be welcomed in some respects. This gives Northern Irish businesses peace of mind that trade relations with the EU (including return on investment) and the UK will remain essentially unchanged until the end of the transition period. For NI companies that only trade on the island of Ireland, the Withdrawal Agreement will provide certainty about the standstill position (including unfettered access to EU markets), even after the transition period and regardless of whether or not a UK-EU free trade agreement is concluded. Article 16 of the Protocol is a safeguard clause of the Northern Ireland Protocol that allows each Party to take “strictly necessary” unilateral measures if the application of the Protocol “results in serious economic, social or environmental difficulties which may persist or trade diversion”.

[88] The other party may then take “strictly necessary” proportionate compensatory measures. Article 16 provides that priority should be given to measures and measures to restore the balance that “least disturb” the functioning of the Protocol. This Article 16 is set out in Annex 7 to the Northern Ireland Protocol. This Annex stipulates that such unilateral measures may not be applied (except in exceptional cases) until one month or more after informing the other Party. If the vote is adopted by a simple majority, consent must be obtained again four years later. The UK Government will also be required to commission an independent review of the functioning of the Northern Ireland Protocol and the impact of its implementation or repeal. The review must take place within four years. However, the Northern Ireland Protocol will be necessary whether or not a trade deal is reached – as EU legislation requires testing of product standards, even if tariffs are abolished.

These clauses were criticised by Sinn Féin [51] and Taoiseach Micheál Martin declared that “confidence has been shaken”. [52] In October, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure[53] and in December, the EU-UK Joint Committee reached an agreement on practical aspects[54], which allowed the UK government to remove the controversial clauses before the bill came into force. [55] The statement states that the United Kingdom will make arrangements to allow the convening of the Assembly for the specific purpose of holding a vote on the approval of the minutes. A majority in this vote will be sufficient to meet the condition of approval. The consent mechanism creates the possibility that Northern Ireland will leave the protocol at some point in the future, with also the possibility that such a decision could lead to a hard border. The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution, and constitutional matters are not part of the powers conferred on Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. .