Related Topics: International Relations, European Union
Why in News?
- Britain secured a Brexit deal with the European Union, more than three years after Britons voted to leave the bloc.
- Technical negotiators struggled longest to fine-tune customs and sales tax regulations that will have to manage trade in goods between the Northern Ireland and Ireland — where the UK and the EU share their only land border.
Key Details of Brexit Deal
- The conundrum was how to prevent the frontier becoming a backdoor into the EU’s single market without erecting checkpoints that could undermine the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of conflict in the province.
- The agreement will keep Northern Ireland in the U.K. customs area, but all EU rules will apply to goods arriving there in this complex system.
- There will be no customs checks on the island of Ireland — they will be done in ports on mainland Britain.
- For goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are deemed to be staying there, no EU tariffs will apply.
- No EU tariffs would be paid on personal goods carried by travelers across the Irish frontier and for a second category of exempted goods that can only be for immediate consumption, rather than subsequent processing.
- As long as the goods do not cross to Ireland and the EU’s single market, only UK customs tariffs will apply.
- The agreement scraps the “backstop”, a mechanism envisaged earlier that was designed to prevent a hard border being introduced on the island of Ireland, and would have bound at least parts of Britain to some EU rules.
- The Northern Irish assembly will have to give consent after Brexit for the region’s continued alignment with the EU regulatory regime every four years.
- But there will be no executive veto option by the Democratic Unionist Party, as originally envisaged. Instead, it will require a simple majority agreement.
- The UK and the EU aim to establish an ambitious and wide-ranging free trade agreement — these talks will form the second stage of EU-UK talks.
- Britain PM Boris Johnson must now secure approval for the agreement in an extraordinary session of Parliament, which would pave the way for an orderly departure on October 31, 2019.
- Northern Ireland‘s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has announced it will not support Boris Johnson’s current Brexit plan, saying that it is not in Northern Ireland’s interests.
- The statement was seen as a major setback for Johnson, who would most likely need the support of his DUP allies in parliament for approval of the agreement.