What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and why is it important?

What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and why is it important?

The Northern Ireland Protocol helps prevent checks along the land border between Northern Ireland (in the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (in the EU). During Brexit negotiations, all sides agreed protecting the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal (the Good Friday agreement) was an absolute priority.

Why is the EU suing the UK over the Northern Ireland checks?

The EU has now launched legal action against the UK, alleging that it is unilaterally changing the rules in breach of international law. The checks apply to goods travelling from GB to Northern Ireland and were introduced under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the treaty which took the UK out of the EU.

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Why is Northern Ireland in the EU Single Market?

Following Brexit, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) no longer follows EU rules on product standards (which are the same for all countries in the EU single market). But Northern Ireland does – partly because it shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member.

What are the new EU customs rules for goods entering Ireland?

The EU has very strict rules about what can enter its territory, which includes the Republic of Ireland, and normally requires goods to be inspected at the point of entry. After years of negotiations, the EU and the UK set out the new rules in an agreement called the Northern Ireland Protocol. It came into force on 1 January 2021.

Can the United Kingdom include Northern Ireland in the territorial scope?

Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom. Accordingly, nothing in this Protocol shall prevent the United Kingdom from including Northern Ireland in the territorial scope of any agreements it may conclude with third countries, provided that those agreements do not prejudice the application of this Protocol.

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Why does Northern Ireland have a de facto border with Ireland?

In place of an Ireland/Northern Ireland land border, the protocol has created a de facto customs border in the Irish Sea for customs purposes, separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain, to the disquiet of prominent Unionists. The British and Irish Governments: (…) (…) (…)

What is the latest on the Northern Ireland dispute?

That period, which was due to end on 30 June, has now been extended until 30 September – but there is still no agreement on how to resolve the dispute in the long term. The UK had previously warned it was ready to ignore the rules if an extension was not granted, even though it signed up to them when it negotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol.