OAN Geraldyn Berry
5:24 PM PT – Monday, February 24, 2023
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has signed a new trade agreement with the European Union that addresses issues brought on by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The new deal, dubbed the Windsor Framework, was hailed as “the start of a new chapter” in the United Kingdom and E.U.’s cooperation. In a move that infuriated politicians on both sides, the two parties had decided to eliminate “any sense of a border” between Britain and its province.
A news conference occurred in Windsor, just outside London on Monday with the British prime minister and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, about the new agreement.
“I’m pleased to report that we have now made a decisive breakthrough,” Sunak said. “These negotiations have not always been easy. The U.K. and the E.U. may have had our differences in the past, but we are allies, trading partners and friends. This is the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship.”
Von der Leyen highlighted that the agreement “respects and protects our respective markets and our respective legitimate interests. And, most importantly, it protects the very hard-earned peace gains of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol has been the source of ongoing contention ever since the U.K. exited the E.U. on January 31st, 2020.
The latest conversations are aimed at easing these requirements, which are mandated by this portion of the Brexit agreement and requires checks on some products that travel to Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.
Unionist groups in Northern Ireland have claimed that the checks effectively create a border in the Irish Sea.
The Good Friday Agreement, a long-standing peace accord that put an end to three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, has come under fire for being put in jeopardy by the Protocol.