Post-Brexit Conflicts: The UK-EU Agreement on Northern Ireland

After months of dispute, Brussels and London reached an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol, which has many critics in the conservative party. Some media reports Boris Johnson’s decision to stage a coup against Sunak with the help of opponents of this agreement. What did the change of power from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak bring about in British foreign policy? And what are the provisions of the agreement between the UK and the EU on Northern Ireland? And who are the opponents of this agreement, and what are the reasons for their opposition?

Reaching an agreement after months of bargaining

As part of Brexit, the UK and the EU agreed that Ireland’s land border would be free of customs posts and other checks. However, this problem has created problems for the exchange of goods between England and Northern Ireland, which is politically in the British territory but economically subject to the laws of the EU, in the last two years. After months of negotiations, the UK and the EU have agreed on the future of Northern Ireland in the post-Brexit period. The Northern Ireland Protocol has already caused tension between the two sides.

Failure to disclose the details of the UK-EU agreement

The British media, citing sources close to the two sides’ negotiating teams, announced that the agreement between the UK and the EU was reached following a meeting attended by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a hotel located in west London. Sunak’s spokesperson told reporters earlier that the two sides are in the final stages of negotiations, and significant progress has been made in the negotiations process. The details of the agreement have yet to be released, but it is said that the challenge arising from the Brexit deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol has been resolved.

Boris Johnson’s plan to solve the crisis in Northern Ireland

The EU was previously unwilling to renegotiate the Brexit agreement, and the UK had warned against unilaterally changing the rules of this region. Boris Johnson’s government has put forward a plan to scrap “unnecessary” paperwork on goods checks and give businesses in Northern Ireland the same tax breaks as elsewhere in the UK.

Foreign policy strategy change

The government of Rishi Sunak, who came to power, stopped considering this bill in the parliament and tried to reach an agreement with the EU. Sunak claimed that the agreement between the UK and the EU could be approved by the parliament. Still, he is said to need the support of the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland and Brexiteers within the ruling party to implement it.

Political experts doubt the UK-EU agreement.

Observers in the UK need to be more convinced about the new agreement’s success. Now we have to wait and see if the outcome of the negotiations between Sunak and von der Leyen can solve the trade problems in this region for the post-Brexit era while covering up the political differences. The British people have realized the futility of Brexit in recent years, and polls show that a growing number want to rejoin the EU. The UK did not get any particular points in this agreement. What is interpreted as preserving sovereignty or taking control of the country’s destiny is practically meaningless with the restrictions imposed in this agreement.

Putting aside disputes over the Northern Ireland Protocol

The EU and the UK have finally resolved the dispute over Northern Ireland after Brexit. With the agreed-upon control mechanism, London and Brussels are moving closer together again. For several months, Brexit and its consequences were no longer discussed in Brussels, and if it was raised, it was only in the form of mocking or annoying comments. The continent was used to constant threats from the UK. This culminated in London announcing that it would unilaterally change the terms of its signed Brexit agreement.

How to move goods in the new agreement

But things changed a bit with the new UK government led by Rishi Sunak. Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission during the agreement with London, praised the British Prime Minister in Windsor and said: “There was a very constructive attitude from the very beginning, to solve problems, to find solutions.” According to the agreement between the parties in the dispute over the movement of goods to Northern Ireland, goods from the UK intended only for the British part of Ireland will no longer be strictly inspected. They are subject to UK standards. The situation is different for goods destined for Ireland, an EU member state, examined comprehensively.

Benefits of the new UK-EU agreement

Accordingly, UK entrepreneurs can register once as a Trusted Trader and then be subject to much less formality. This should ensure supermarket shelves are stocked in Northern Ireland, protect the EU’s internal market and ensure that borders on the island of Ireland remain open and the fragile peace there is preserved.

Political authorities welcomed the new agreement.

David McAllister, the head of the foreign relations committee in the EU Parliament, welcomed this agreement and said: “The compromise that has been found is pragmatic and gives reason to hope that the ongoing debate can finally be settled.” The decision allows the UK to apply reduced VAT rates to goods supplied and fixed in Northern Ireland.

Johnson’s desire to return to power

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said about the new agreement between the UK and the EU: “This is the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship.” But British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is taking a significant risk with it, as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently working to topple him so that he can present himself as the saviour of the country and Brexit.

The tensions of the party era of conservatives

Disagreements are ongoing in Sunak’s parliamentary faction over whether the prime minister should be allowed to make such sweeping compromises with the EU. The main character of intra-party tensions is Boris Johnson. The former British prime minister has been seeking revenge since the sacking of Rishi Sunak in July 2022, whose resignation as finance minister led to Johnson’s downfall in Downing Street.

Johnson seeks to oust Rishi Sunak.

According to British media, Johnson is working on a coup against Sunak. He plans to gather enough MPs in the House of Commons to rebel against the Sunak deal. Rishi Sunak has already promised that the “Windsor Framework Agreement” will be put to this House for a vote. If there are enough pro-UK unionists and Brexiteers to vote against Sunak’s deal, it would be a significant blow to the Prime Minister, who has been in office since late October.

 Sunak’s unknown political fate

Now the fate of the sixth prime minister who is trying to manage Brexit is in an aura of uncertainty. The removal of Rishi Sunak is the demand of his opponents. Labor has already announced that it will vote for the Windsor deal. But many opposition parties in the Conservative Party will pose multiple challenges to Rishi Sunak, significantly improving Boris Johnson’s position as a possible Tory saviour ahead of the next election in 2024.

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