In light of the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, the European Commission has today reached an agreement at negotiator level with the UK on a revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and a revised Political Declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship.
The revised Protocol provides a legally operative solution that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and safeguards the integrity of the EU Single Market.
Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of Single Market rules to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Today’s Protocol will also avoid any customs border on the island of Ireland, while ensuring that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK’s customs territory. The Northern Ireland Assembly will have a decisive voice on the long-term application of relevant EU law in Northern Ireland.
The main change in the Political Declaration relates to the future EU-UK economic relationship where the current UK government has opted for a model based on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Political Declaration confirms the ambition to conclude an FTA with zero tariffs and quotas between the EU and the UK, and states that robust commitments on a level playing field should ensure open and fair competition.