Brexit Moves Forward And Stalls
At the time of writing, Prime Minister Johnson’s slight variation on his predecessor’s plan had passed the House of Commons, but MPs had rejected the government’s moves to force the plan through in just three days. The deal, which had previously secured the agreement of the European Union, would involve a hard Brexit for the UK but ensure that a hard border does not materialize between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to its south.
According to the EU, the deal provides that Northern Ireland would remain aligned to a limited set of rules related to the EU’s Single Market in order to avoid a hard border. Specifically, it would be bound by EU legislation on goods, sanitary rules for veterinary controls (SPS rules), rules on agricultural production/marketing, VAT and excise in respect of goods, and state aid rules.
It was explained that: “EU and UK negotiators have now found a new way to achieve the goal of avoiding a customs border on the island of Ireland, while at the same time ensuring Northern Ireland remains part of the UK’s customs territory. This agreement fully protects the integrity of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, and avoids any regulatory and customs checks at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
The EU further explained that the main change in the Political Declaration relates to the future EU-UK economic relationship, with the current UK government opting for a model based on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The EU stated that: “The Political Declaration provides for an ambitious FTA with zero tariffs and quotas between the EU and the UK. It states that robust commitments on a level playing field should ensure open and fair competition. The precise nature of commitments will be commensurate with the ambition of the future relationship and take into account the economic connectedness and geographic proximity of the UK.”
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