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Current Affairs

Northern Ireland protocol

Date: 23 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Britain and European Union are seeing another confrontation related to post-Brexit trade rules regarding Northern Ireland.

 

Background

This is not the first time Britain and EU are involved in confrontation. This had also taken place during the shortage of chilled meat.

 

Details

  • There is an opinion that Britain’s trade policy for Northern Ireland, known as Northern Ireland protocol, will have to be completely scrapped off if it cannot be modified.

  • The post-Brexit policy was negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The executive body of EU said it will not renegotiate but small differences can be made.

  • Johnson is accused of not respecting international treaties, not trusting protocols and avoiding taking responsibility of exiting EU.

  • Johnson had championed the Brexit cause and had seeked a new mandate to implement Brexit deal in interest of the country.

  • The biggest concern is that peace treaty of Northern Ireland may be broken if any trade related issue comes up. This is different from normal trade disputes.

  • The Good Friday agreement had brought peace in Northern Ireland after years of clashes between pro-Ireland and pro-British supporters.

 

The protocol

  • The protocol was the way of resolving the trade movement between Northern Ireland (part of Britain) and Republic of Ireland, with which it shares open border.

  • The residents are opposed to border checkups and are in favour of existing open border mechanism that was possible due to membership of EU.

  • Boris Johnson had intentions of leaving the customs union and its single market of EU under Brexit plans. This would bring back trade border.

  • The protocol effectively leaves Northern Ireland half inside British system and half inside European Union system.

 

The concern

  • Once the protocol is in place, goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain has to undergo checks, which is set to bring up another barrier.

  • This has created further divide between the two regions. Conservatives of Northern Ireland supporting British think that their future in UK will be affected.

 

Concerns of EU

  • EU says that the deal was suggested by Johnson himself and they do not want any renegotiation.

  • Removing the single market system would undermine one of the cornerstones of European integration.

 

Solutions

  • EU says that for animal origin products, health standards have to be maintained. This is also applicable in Northern Ireland and opposed by UK.

  • UK may want to bring in certain clause to act unilaterally and suspend some parts of treaty that they feel is not fair.