Windsor Framework: The deal between UK and EU


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.
  1. The green lane system will be for goods that will stay in Northern Ireland.
  2. The red lane system will be for goods that will go to the EU.
  • The second aspect is the ‘Stormont Brake’.
  1. It allows Northern Ireland lawmakers and London to veto any EU regulation.
  2. The veto is applicable if they believe that the regulation affects the region adversely.


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