EU, U.K. reach post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland – National

The UK and the EU ended a years-long feud on Monday in a deal to settle a thorny trade dispute over Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed the agreement at a meeting in Windsor, UK, and the two held a press conference on Monday to announce the details.

The deal could put an end to a dispute that has soured relations between the UK and the EU, caused the collapse of Belfast-based local government and has rocked Northern Ireland’s decades-long peace process.

Fixing it is a big win for Sunak, but it doesn’t solve his problem. Pitching the deal to his own Conservative Party and its ally Northern Ireland could prove to be an uphill battle. Sunak is now awaiting a verdict from the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. The party is boycotting power-sharing governments in the region until trade agreements are changed satisfactorily.

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Sunak will later issue a statement before the House of Commons detailing the deal.

Von der Leyen will have tea with Charles III at Windsor Castle, 20 miles (32 km) west of London. Buckingham Palace said the meeting was held on the advice of the government, and critics began to accuse Sunak of dragging the normally neutral monarch into the political fray.

Government sources said Mr Sunak agreed to the terms during a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a hotel in west London. They will hold a joint press conference at 1530 GMT.

The deal is a risky strategy for Sunak, which has sought to secure compromises and improve relations with the EU and the US.

A Sunak spokesman told reporters the two sides were “in final negotiations and have made significant progress over the past few weeks and months.”

The deal aims to resolve tensions caused by the post-Brexit 2020 deal governing an open border between the UK state of Northern Ireland and Ireland, an EU member state.

Click to play video: 'Post-Brexit tensions erupt in Northern Ireland, causing days of anxiety'

Post-Brexit tensions erupt in Northern Ireland, causing days of anxiety

“I can’t believe No. 10 asks King HM to be involved in finalizing a deal that is so controversial. It is terrible and will go down very badly in NI,” said former Northern Ireland Prime Minister Arlene Foster said on Twitter.

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Sunak spokesman Max Blaine said the government would “never” involve the king in politics.

“His Majesty has recently met with a number of foreign leaders.” “This is no different.”

Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK that shares a border with the EU member state of the Republic of Ireland. When the UK leaves her bloc in 2020, both sides have agreed to free Ireland’s borders from customs and other checks, as open borders are a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process. bottom.

Instead there are checks for some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. This angered British trade unionist politicians in Belfast.

The Democratic Unionist Party overthrew Northern Ireland’s Protestant and Catholic power-sharing government a year ago in protest, refusing to return until the rules were repealed or substantially rewritten.

The DUP has been largely silent in recent days, saying it needs to confirm the details of the deal before deciding whether it meets the party’s voluntary standards.

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DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said he was “neither positive nor negative” about the deal, but waited to confirm the details.

The signs of compromise for the EU have also sparked opposition from hard-line euroskeptics who form a strong bloc in Sunak’s ruling Conservative Party. Critics include former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who, as a Brexit-time leader, endorsed the now deriding trade rules. Mr Johnson was ousted from the Conservative Party last year over an ethics scandal, but it is widely believed he wants a comeback.

Jacob Rhys-Mogg, a prominent Tory MP who supports Brexit, said the acceptance of any deal “would all depend on the DUP”. “I think a fair number of Conservatives will be unhappy if the DUP opposes it,” Rees-Moog said.

Steve Baker, a self-proclaimed “Brexit hardman” who opposed the Brexit deal in 2019 and helped overthrow Prime Minister Theresa May, said that to improve Mr Sunak’s chances of winning Conservative support, he said: Really great results.”

Sunak has said parliament will discuss any deal he negotiates, but has not promised lawmakers a binding vote and no vote in parliament is expected this week. .

Relations between the UK and the EU have been severely tested in the long-running Brexit divorce, but have cooled further in the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK government has introduced legislation that would allow it to unilaterally reverse parts of the Brexit deal. The EU called the move illegal. Brock accused the UK of failing to respect the legally binding treaties it signed.

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Moods between London and Brussels improved after pragmatic Brexit supporter Sunak took office in October, replacing more belligerent predecessors Johnson and Liz Truss.

The deal will likely eliminate customs checks on most goods moving between the UK and Northern Ireland, and will give Northern Ireland MPs a say in EU rules that apply as part of the protocol. There is a possibility.

The most thorny issue is the role of the European Court of Justice in resolving disputes arising over the rules.

The UK and EU have agreed to give the European Court that power in its Brexit divorce deal. But the DUP and conservative Brexit supporters argue the courts should not have jurisdiction over UK matters.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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