Withdrawal Agreement Northern Ireland
In September 2020, the UK government drafted legislation that would give ministers the power to determine which state aid must be notified to the EU and which products are likely to be imported into Ireland from Northern Ireland, which it defended as a clarification of the ambiguity of the protocol.  Prior to publication, ursula von der Leyen said this could violate international law, and in response to a question in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, said that the government`s draft Single Market Act would ”violate international law” in a ”specific and limited manner” by introducing new powers to circumvent certain contractual obligations to the EU, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.  The proposed provision led to the resignation of a senior government lawyer and the Advocate General of Scotland.  Article 4 reaffirms that Northern Ireland is and will remain an integral part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is therefore part of the UK`s future trade agreements and there is nothing in the protocol to prevent an agreement allowing exports from Northern Ireland on the same basis as that of Great Britain. The European Parliament, which had not yet ratified the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, postponed the decision until the proposed violation was resolved.  On April 28, 2021, it was announced that the agreement had been ratified.  In this case, the Joint Committee set up by the Withdrawal Agreement to monitor the Protocol will make recommendations to the UK and the EU on alternatives to avoid a hard border and protect the Good Friday Agreement. The options available depend on the nature of the EU-UK trade deal in place at the time. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland was conceived as a stable and sustainable solution and will apply in parallel with any future Partnership Agreement.
These clauses were criticised by Sinn Féin  and Taoiseach Micheál Martin declared that ”confidence has been shaken”.  In October, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure and in December, the EU-UK Joint Committee reached an agreement on practical aspects, which allowed the UK government to remove the controversial clauses before the bill came into force.  The Northern Ireland Protocol, negotiated last October by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is part of the Withdrawal Agreement (which some have called a ”divorce agreement”) by which the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. In the officially negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, the ”Irish backstop” was removed and replaced by this new protocol. The whole of the UK would leave the EU customs union as a single customs territory, with Northern Ireland included in all future UK trade agreements, but Northern Ireland would adopt EU single market rules on goods, thus remaining a point of entry into the EU customs union.  This would prevent a ”hard border” on the island of Ireland. Article 2 of the Protocol contains certain measures to protect human rights and equality, and specific EU measures against discrimination are listed in Annex 1. The agreement provided for a three-month deadline (ending 31 March 2021) to give retailers, wholesalers and logistics companies time to adjust to the new rules on the movement of goods from Britain to Northern Ireland. After the United Kingdom`s withdrawal from the European Union, the Irish border became the only land border between the United Kingdom and the EU. The provisions of the EU`s internal market and the UK`s internal market require certain customs and trade controls at their external borders.
The Northern Ireland Protocol is designed to protect the EU`s single market while avoiding the imposition of a ”hard border” that could trigger a recurrence of conflict and destabilise the relative peace that has prevailed since the end of the unrest. On the 17th. In December 2020, the Joint Committee (chaired by Gove and Šefčovič) agreed on a number of documents to give concrete effect to the agreement.  The Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom sets out the conditions for an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Article 3 recognises the right of the United Kingdom and Ireland to maintain the common travel area, their bilateral agreement on the free movement of British and Irish nationals between their legal systems. The protocol on Northern Ireland is to be welcomed in some respects. This gives Northern Irish businesses peace of mind that trade relations with the EU (including return on investment) and the UK will remain essentially unchanged until the end of the transition period. For NI companies that only trade on the island of Ireland, the Withdrawal Agreement will provide certainty about the standstill position (including unfettered access to EU markets), even after the transition period and regardless of whether or not a UK-EU free trade agreement is concluded. Under the Protocol, Northern Ireland is formally outside the EU single market, but EU rules on the free movement of goods and EU customs union rules continue to apply; This will ensure that there are no customs controls or controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the island. Instead of a land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Protocol created a de facto customs border along the Irish Sea for customs purposes, separating Northern Ireland from the island of Great Britain. to the concern of prominent unionists.
 This package proposes new flexibilities in the areas of food, plant and animal health, customs, medicines and cooperation with Northern Irish stakeholders. The main advantage of the Withdrawal Agreement is that it provides a framework for a managed exit. Time will tell whether a sufficiently attractive free trade agreement can be negotiated before the end of the transition period. The UK and the EU can agree on a one-time extension of this transition period of up to one or two years, and if so, this should be done before 1 July 2020. .