Windsor Framework: What is the deal UK and EU have reached to solve the Northern Ireland Protocol tangle

Source: The post is based on the following articles: 

— “Windsor Framework: What is the deal UK and EU have reached to solve the Northern Ireland Protocol tangle” published in Indian Express on 2nd March 2023.

Explained | Understanding the Windsor frameworkpublished in The Hindu on 2nd March 2023.

What is the News?

The UK government under Prime Minister has reached a landmark deal called the “Windsor Framework” with the European Union (EU) on post-Brexit trade rules that will govern Northern Ireland.

The ‘Windsor Framework’ will replace the Northern Ireland Protocol, which led to significant disagreements between the UK and European Union (EU).

Background of Northern Ireland

The island of Ireland comprises the Republic of Ireland, which is a sovereign country, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

The political split on the island was exacerbated by growing tensions, especially from the 1960s onwards between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This dark saga on the island ended only after the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 between the UK Prime Minister and the Republic of Ireland respectively. 

A key takeaway from the Agreement was, respecting the wishes of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland, the province would remain a part of the U.K.

What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?

It was a deal struck between the UK and the European Union that determined what the trade rules would be for Northern Ireland after Brexit.

Northern Ireland shares a land border with Ireland, which is an EU member, over which goods move freely because there are no checkpoints.

Given all sides were committed to keeping that land border open, the UK and EU agreed that the inspection of goods would be conducted between Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland. ​​

This effectively created a customs border between two different parts of the UK – Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

What is the Windsor Framework?

Source: The Hindu

The Windsor Framework is aimed at significantly reducing the number of checks. It proposes two crucial aspects: 

Lanes: Two lanes would be created for goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain:

A green lane for goods will remain in Northern Ireland. Products going through the green lane would see checks and paperwork scrapped.

A red lane for goods that may be sent on to the EU.

Red lane goods would still be subject to checks.

Stormont Brake: It allows Northern Ireland lawmakers and London to veto any EU regulation.

The veto is applicable if they believe that the regulation affects the region adversely.

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