The Northern Ireland Protocol

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Publication Date 23/01/2023
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The Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP), signed by the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) as part of the Withdrawal Agreement in 2020, has become the thorniest issue in the new relationship between the two sides. In the run up to the 2016 referendum there was almost no consideration, let alone discussion, of the implications for the Northern Ireland peace process that a Brexit vote might have. Since 2020 the discussions about Northern Ireland have been endless and often ill-tempered. The failure to resolve the difficulties has poisoned the day-to-day functioning of the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU and effectively blocked any attempts to bring the two sides closer together.

This analysis will look at the origins of the current situation (the ‘what’), the specific issue of the Brexit trilemma (the ‘why’), and how matters might be addressed (the ‘how’).

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