This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Windsor Framework announced to replace Northern Ireland Protocol

Windsor Framework announced to replace Northern Ireland Protocol


UK Prime Minister and EU Commission President agree new framework

A new framework, the Windsor Framework, has been agreed by the UK Prime Minister and the European Commission President to replace the Northern Ireland Protocol, providing a new legal and constitutional framework, which aims to streamline trade within the United Kingdom, protect Northern Ireland’s place in the Union and safeguard sovereignty for Northern Ireland.   

The UK Prime Minister’s Office describes the framework as a new way forward to create a “prosperous, stable future for Northern Ireland,” which aims to fix the practical problems experienced by the people and businesses of Northern Ireland and restore the balance of the Good Friday Agreement.

The agreement includes a new Stormont Brake, which rewrites the Treaty, in order to safeguard sovereignty and fix the democratic deficit. It will mean that in practice the Northern Ireland Assembly can oppose new EU goods rules that would have a significant and lasting effect on the everyday lives of the people of Northern Ireland.

In addition to this, the agreement includes the removal of over 1,700 pieces of EU law, which includes European Court of Justice decisions and oversight in areas like VAT, medicines and food safety. A minimum set of EU rules will remain applicable to preserve the access for Northern Ireland to the EU Single Market and avoid a hard border.

The UK government has also published the legal texts pertaining to the new Windsor Framework. The implementation of the agreement will be phased in to give businesses and citizens time to prepare for the changes, with some of arrangements being introduced later in 2023 and the remainder in 2024.

According to the press release, as a result of the negotiated agreement the UK government will no longer proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and the EU will withdraw all of the related legal action launched against the UK.

Speaking at the press conference announcing the new framework, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said: “Today’s agreement is written in the language of laws and treaties. But really, it’s about much more than that. It’s about stability in Northern Ireland. It’s about real people and real businesses. It’s about showing that our Union, that has lasted for centuries, can and will endure. And it’s about breaking down the barriers between us. Setting aside the arguments that have for too long, divided us. And remembering the fellow feeling that defines us: This family of nations – this United Kingdom.”