Europe
2 months ago

UK and EU formally adopt new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland

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The United Kingdom and the European Union have formally adopted a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, reports BBC citing the Downing Street.

Known as the Windsor Framework, it is designed to make trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK easier.

It gives the Stormont assembly more say over EU rules and has been welcomed by most Northern Ireland parties.

However the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) voted against a key aspect of the deal on Wednesday and is still refusing to re-enter power-sharing.

Earlier the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said the framework allowed the UK and the EU to begin a "new chapter in relations".

Maros Sefcovic was in London on Friday to ratify the new post-Brexit deal with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

Mr Sefcovic said the EU would continue listening to everyone in Northern Ireland and continue its commitment to the peace process.

He said both sides had "listened, understood and acted for the benefit of both our interests".

"Now the Windsor Framework is the result of that genuine engagement and shared vision," he said.

Mr Cleverly said the negotiations had been "thoughtful, professional and in the spirit of friendship and cooperation".

"What we achieved was... something which protected the EU's single market, protected the UK's internal market but most importantly protected the elements of the Belfast Agreement," he said.

Jayne Brady, the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, was the representative from Northern Ireland at the Joint Committee meeting.

On Thursday Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said the DUP - Northern Ireland's second largest party after Sinn Féin - has yet to come to terms with the significance of the overwhelming parliamentary vote in support of the new deal.

He said the deal was done and would be "no renegotiating" of it.

His comments came a day after MPs voted by 515 to 29 to support the deal agreed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month.

It will open the door to talks in other areas of cooperation that had been blocked, including financial services and Britain's access to the EU's flagship Horizon research scheme.

But the DUP and some Conservative MPs voted against the deal, saying the UK government had to make changes to it.

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