White smoke in Windsor: British Prime Minister Sunak succeeds in what his two predecessors failed to do. With the agreement, he could draw a line under the Brexit quarrels.
After years of wrangling over the special Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, the UK and the EU have reached an agreement. The German press agency learned this on Monday from EU circles.
The breakthrough came at a meeting between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Windsor, west of London. Both wanted to announce details of the agreement in a press conference that afternoon. A meeting with King Charles was also on the agenda for von der Leyen.
Quarrels put a strain on relationships
Specifically, it is about the implementation of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, which was negotiated as part of the Brexit Treaty. It provides that the customs border between the UK and the EU runs in the Irish Sea. This was to prevent border controls between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland having to be introduced. Otherwise it was expected that the conflict about unifying the two parts of Ireland would flare up again.
The dispute had put a strain on relations between London and Brussels, but also on relations between London and Berlin. It is now eagerly awaited whether Sunak will also find support for the agreement from Brexit hardliners in his Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Protestant Party DUP. The DUP has been blocking the formation of a new government in Northern Ireland for months in protest at the regulation.
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