Explains what is in the Windsor framework

THE NEW The Brexit deal for Northern Ireland is a major victory. Rishi Sunak was glowing as he joined European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on February 27 to unveil the “Windsor Framework”. Mr Sunak the spying EUThe company’s concessions and the new mutual trust. However, the devil is in the details.

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The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) desired removal of Northern Ireland Protocolwhich holds the province i EU‘s internal market for goods. The Windsor framework replaces it. But the treaty text in the protocol has not been changed significantly.

A new system of “green lanes” will allow trusted traders to export goods from the UK to Northern Ireland that do not cross into Ireland with minimal (but not zero) checks. Goods that may cross the border face full “red lane” control. Labels must be used to make it clear which is which.

The framework also deals with a set of specific complaints packages, pets, hot dogs and so on. Bans on these will be scrapped, as will be the case for plants and seed potatoes. Any medicines approved by Great Britain will also be freely available in Northern Ireland.

When it comes to VATexcise duty and state aidNorthern Ireland will now benefit Great Britain– wide changes to VAT for fixtures and buildings, and from tax relief for alcoholic beverages in summer. But elsewhere EU rules will apply. It will too EUits state aid regime, even if it has been clarified to apply only in narrowly defined cases.

On steering, DUP wished to terminate the jurisdiction of The European Court of Justice. The agreement states that most disputes should be settled by Northern Irish courts. But ECJ is still the ultimate judge of EU promises. The agreement also creates a “Stormont brake”during which 30 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, from at least two parties, can ask Great Britain to veto changes in EU internal market rules. Nevertheless, as Norway has found with a similar brake, this is a nuclear option that will trigger EU retaliation – doubts whether it can be used.

The Windsor framework clearly improves the protocol. Yet it is misleading to claim, as Sunak has done, that “it removes any sense of an Irish sea border”. No wonder that DUP would like more time to analyze it.

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