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NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL: EXPLAINED

NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL: EXPLAINED

Context:

The Northern Ireland Protocol is designed to prevent cross-border checks between Northern Ireland (US) and the Republic of Ireland (EU), following Brexit. It came into effect in early 2021. This protocol means, to keep the global border open and to avoid establishing new infrastructures such as cameras and border posts.

Why in the News?

  • It has sparked tensions between the UK and the EU as it has disrupted trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • The UK government has been calling for it to be rewritten.

Northern Ireland Protocol:

  • Under this protocol, it was agreed that Northern Ireland would continue to comply with EU regulations on product standards to prevent cross-border checks.
  • Goods importing into Northern Ireland from Scotland, England or Wales will be tested.

Background of Northern Ireland Protocol:

  • During the Brexit negotiations, all parties agreed that defending the Northern Ireland peace agreement in 1998 was of paramount importance.
  • This was easy to do when Ireland and Northern Ireland were part of the EU. Both groups automatically share the same EU trade rules. No checks are required for the goods moving between them.
  • However, after Brexit, a new arrangement was needed because the EU required goods such as milk and eggs to be tested when they arrived from non-EU countries. While products such as cold meat are not allowed to enter the EU.

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