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Current Affairs

Northern Ireland protocol

Date: 23 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


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



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



  • 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.



  • 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.