Protocol deal 'provides long-lasting' solutions for Northern Ireland, says EU chief

Protocol Deal 'Provides Long-Lasting' Solutions For Northern Ireland, Says Eu Chief
Ms von der Leyen said the EU is fully committed to safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Photo: PA Images
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PA Political Staff

Updated at 16:28

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the recent Northern Ireland Protocol deal agreed between the UK and EU will provide "long-lasting solutions" for Northern Ireland.


Speaking at a press-conference this afternoon alongside UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, she said the deal delivers "long-lasting solutions that both of us are confident will work for all people and businesses in Northern Ireland. Solutions that respond directly to the concerns they have raised.

“Prime Minister, we worked hard across a wide range of areas. The new arrangements are delivering a comprehensive package so that we can address in a definitive way the issues faced in everyday lives.

Ursula von der Leyen said: “For this to work, we have agreed on strong safeguards like IT access, labels and enforcement procedures that will protect the integrity of the European Union’s single market."

She said that the new Windsor Framework “respects and protects our respective markets and our respective legitimate interests”.


Speaking about the European Court of Justice (ECJ) she said their role is to be the “sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law” and will have the “final say” on single market decisions.


“Indeed, the European Court of Justice is the sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law – that’s natural because it’s prescribed by the EU order. So the ECJ will have the final say in EU law and single market decisions," she said.

But Ms von der Leyen stated through the new framework each side has “worked hard” to add the new Stormont brake.

She added that it remains an emergency mechanism that hopefully will not need to be used.

Ms von der Leyen said the EU is fully committed to safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.


“Extensive consultations” with the UK and Northern Ireland will regulate the system, she said.

Earlier, Rishi Sunak has said his “decisive breakthrough” on post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland will remove trade barriers in the Irish Sea as he seeks the backing of unionists and Tory Eurosceptics.

The UK Prime Minister said the controversially named “Windsor framework” finalised with the European Union on Monday will deliver smooth flowing trade and “safeguards sovereignty”.

Mr Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed the long-awaited deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol after a meeting in Windsor lasting under two hours.


The King with Rishi Sunak
The King with Rishi Sunak (Leon Neal/PA)

The EU chief will go on to have tea with Britain's King Charles at Windsor Castle despite criticism that the meeting would drag Charles into the politically contentious deal.

At a press conference in Windsor Guildhall, the UK Prime Minister said: “I’m pleased to report that we have now made a decisive breakthrough.

“Together we have changed the original protocol and are today announcing the new Windsor framework.

EU and UK strike post-Brexit Northern Ireland Prot...
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“Today’s agreement delivers smooth-flowing trade within the whole United Kingdom, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our union and safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Mr Sunak said he believes the deal is a “turning point for Northern Ireland” that addresses the concerns of the DUP, and is now hoping they will back it and restore powersharing in Stormont.

Referencing changes to customs and VAT rules, Mr Sunak added: “This means we have removed any sense of a border in the Irish Sea.”

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