UK-EU Trade Talks: A Whimsical Withdrawal risks Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has been part and parcel of the Brexit process, from its inception in 2016. After exhaustive negotiations in 2019, the Conservative Government, headed by Boris Johnson, reached a notable consensus, with the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK left the EU on January 31st 2020. However, less than a year on and in the midst of a pandemic further wrangling in the ranks both – UK and EU – has produced significant coverage and debate over the UK’s Internal Market Bill which would seek to give Government Ministers power to unilaterally alter fundamental parts of the Withdrawal Agreement including, what is viewed as the ‘Holy Grail’ clause, the Northern Ireland Protocol which would see NI abide by the EU’s Customs Code to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. NI Unionists have claimed that it would damage NI’s access to the Great Britain market, NI’s largest economic partner, while Nationalists claim the Protocol agreed is the bare minimum to secure certainty for border communities, businesses and the all-island economy. The UK Government has advised that the bill is necessary to secure their recently attained position as a non-EU independent nation.

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