The Northern Ireland Protocol is a key aspect of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, which was designed to ensure that there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It was introduced to address concerns about the impact that Brexit would have on the peace process in Northern Ireland. The Protocol is a complex legal document that sets out the arrangements for trade and regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the EU.
One of the main reasons for the Protocol was to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. The EU and the UK agreed that this would be achieved by creating a customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea, with Northern Ireland remaining in the EU`s single market for goods and applying the EU`s customs rules. This means that goods coming from Great Britain into Northern Ireland are subject to customs checks and tariffs, which has caused some controversy.
The Protocol has also been criticised for undermining the Good Friday Agreement, which was the foundation of the peace process in Northern Ireland. Some unionist politicians in Northern Ireland have argued that the Protocol undermines Northern Ireland`s place in the UK and creates a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
The implementation of the Protocol has not been without challenges. There have been delays in setting up the necessary infrastructure and systems to implement the customs checks required by the Protocol. There have also been accusations of EU officials being heavy-handed when implementing the Protocol, leading to tensions between the UK and the EU.
The Northern Ireland Protocol is a complex and controversial aspect of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. While it was designed to ensure that there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it has created its own challenges and controversies. As the UK and the EU continue to negotiate their future relationship, the Protocol will undoubtedly be an issue that both sides will need to address.