On Monday (27 Feb) British Prime Minister Sunak and European Commission President Von der Leyen announced what may be a “decisive breakthrough” changing the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The deal includes green and red lanes for imports into NI. For details see the VA Political Education Report dated 28 January. This means goods destined for NI markets will not require EU customs checks. It also provides for the UK to set sales taxes in NI. Another provision authorizes the Stormont Assembly to ask “London” to challenge new EU regulations with which it disagrees.
It remains to be seen if this will end the protocol stalemate. The UK parliament must vote to approve it and according to the UK PM Sunak, that vote will be held “at the appropriate time”.
More importantly, will the DUP approve? Some DUP leaders have already commented that this solution does not go far enough.
Soon we’ll learn if the DUP boycott of Stormont was really over the NI Protocol or an excuse to boycott in reaction to the Sinn Féin win last May and Michelle O’Neill’s position as first minister.
BTW the U.S. Special Envoy hasn’t arrived on station yet. He’s in New York City receiving briefings.