The Strategist

UK and EU agree on Northern Ireland's status

12/09/2020 - 03:46

The UK will give up the most controversial provisions of the Internal Market Bill after it has reached agreements in principle with the EU on issues relating to the status of Northern Ireland, said Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Minister.

Public Domain Dedication
Public Domain Dedication
The Internal Market Bill, introduced into Parliament by the government, is designed to regulate trade between four parts of the United Kingdom after the end of the transition period following Brexit, which expires on 31 December this year. 

The main purpose of the bill is to ensure that the integrity of the country's trade space is maintained. However, the document is controversial because some of its provisions legally rewrite sections of the general agreement on Brexit agreed with Brussels in 2019 and thus violate international law. The EU threatened the UK with legal action.

"I am very pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle on all issues within the UK-EU Joint Commission on the EU Brexit Agreement," Gove wrote on Twitter.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is an important part of the Brexit agreement, Northern Ireland will remain part of British customs territory, so if the UK signs a free trade agreement with a third country, Northern Ireland's goods will be included. 

However, Northern Ireland will have to comply with certain EU rules to allow goods to move freely into the Republic of Ireland. The Domestic Market Bill effectively repealed the obligation to follow EU rules, so the agreements reached were a great relief.


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