From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Windsor Framework
Mains level : Not Much
The ‘Windsor Framework’ will replace the Northern Ireland Protocol, which had proved to be among the thorniest of Brexit fall-outs, creating problems both economic and political.
You must know!
England is a country in its own right and forms part of Great Britain, along with Scotland and Wales. Great Britain is a geographical term that refers to the island that contains England, Scotland, and Wales.
On the other hand, the United Kingdom (UK) is a sovereign state that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Hence, England is a part of Great Britain, and Great Britain is a part of the UK.
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
- After the UK left the European Union, Northern Ireland remained its only constituent that shared a land border with an EU-member, the Republic of Ireland.
- Since the EU and the UK have different product standards, border checks would be necessary before goods could move from Northern Ireland to Ireland.
- However, the two Irelands have had a long history of conflict, with a hard-fought peace secured only in 1998 under the Belfast Agreement, also called the Good Friday agreement.
- Fiddling with this border was thus considered too dangerous, and it was decided the checks would be conducted between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
- This was called the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Why was it contentious?
- Under the protocol, Northern Ireland remained in the EU single market, and trade-and-customs inspections of goods coming from Great Britain took place at its ports along the Irish Sea.
- The checks made trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland cumbersome, with food products, especially, losing out on shelf life while they waited for clearance.
- Some taxation and spending policies of the UK government could not be implemented in Northern Ireland because of EU rules.
- The sale of medicines, too, was caught between different British and EU rules.
What does the Windsor Framework proposes?
- The Windsor Framework Deal proposes two crucial aspects. The first aspect is the introduction of a green lane and red lane system for goods.
- The green lane system will be for goods that will stay in Northern Ireland.
- The red lane system will be for goods that will go to the EU.
- The second aspect is the ‘Stormont Brake’.
- It allows Northern Ireland lawmakers and London to veto any EU regulation.
- The veto is applicable if they believe that the regulation affects the region adversely.
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