During negotiations on the UK`s planned withdrawal from the European Union in 2019, the EU presented a position paper on its concerns about the UK`s support for the Good Friday Agreement during Brexit. The position paper addresses issues such as the avoidance of a hard border, North-South cooperation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the birthright of all northern Irish residents (as defined in the agreement) and the common travel area.   Anyone born in Northern Ireland and therefore entitled to an Irish passport under the Good Friday Agreement can retain EU citizenship after Brexit.  In accordance with the European Union`s Brexit negotiating directives, the UK was asked to convince other EU members that these issues had been addressed in order to move to the second phase of Brexit negotiations. The Northern Ireland Protocol, negotiated last October by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is part of the Withdrawal Agreement (which some have referred to as a “divorce agreement”) in which the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. Among the participants in the agreement were two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) with armed and police forces involved in the unrest. Two political parties, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), were linked to paramilitary organisations: the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) respectively. The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), which was linked to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier. Under this agreement, the British and Irish Governments undertook to hold referendums in Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland on 22 May 1998 respectively. in the Republic. The referendum in Northern Ireland was aimed at approving the agreement reached during the multi-party negotiations.
The referendum in the Republic of Ireland was aimed at approving the BRITANNICO-Irish Agreement and facilitating the amendment of the Constitution of Ireland in accordance with the Agreement. Dozens of MEPs have stressed the risk of destroying the UK. As Conservative MP Priti Patel said during the January 10 debate, this would be “the first time in modern history that a British government would negotiate to cede part of our country to a foreign power.” The British Government enshrined the principle of self-determination in legislation through the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and also repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which initially divided the island of Ireland. A referendum on a united Ireland must be called by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when it is likely that a majority of the population would vote for a united Ireland. If the referendum is rejected, at least 7 years must elapse before a new referendum can take place. In the context of political violence during the unrest, the agreement committed to “exclusively democratic and peaceful means of settling disputes over political issues.” This included two aspects: under the provisions of the protocol agreed after the UK`s withdrawal from the EU, Northern Ireland will effectively remain part of the EU`s single market for trade, in line with the rules of the agriculture and products bloc, with customs controls taking place before goods from the rest of the UK enter Northern Ireland. The deal was aimed at avoiding the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland, which many feared would fuel tensions in Northern Ireland, where sectarian conflict raged for about three decades in the second half of the 20th century. The vague wording of some of the provisions, described as “constructive ambiguity”, helped to ensure acceptance of the agreement and postponed debate on some of the most contentious issues. These include paramilitary dismantling, police reform and the standardisation of Northern Ireland. When the UK finally leaves the EU, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will require a border device to check visitors` passports, track the origin and quality of goods and collect appropriate taxes or duties.
The changes have led to widespread confusion among businesses, as some British suppliers refuse to ship goods across the Irish Sea. Johnson also traveled to Washington this week, between meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and discussed the issue with Biden. Biden warned Johnson not to let the trade impasse jeopardize peace in Northern Ireland that followed the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. “With the protocols, I feel very strong about it,” Biden said. “We spent a lot of time and effort in the United States. It is a major bipartisan effort that has been made. And I – I wouldn`t like to see it at all – and I`d like to add that many of my Republican colleagues would like to see it – a change to the Irish agreements, which – the end result is again a closed border. They argued that the backstop posed a threat to the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as it would treat Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK by subjecting it to EU rules. Theresa May strongly supported the backstop in all three parliamentary debates. Their reasoning was that it would maintain Northern Ireland`s place in the Union by preserving its peace agreement and taking into account the interests of the majority of its residents who do not want a hard border.
Northern Ireland has managed to stay out of the front pages in recent decades, with the conflict over sovereignty and religion being altered by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In addition to opening the border, this agreement restored a certain degree of local autonomy and power-sharing between Republican and Unionist politicians. If this had been necessary, the backstop would have kept the entire UK in a close trade relationship with the EU, eliminating the need for controls along the Irish border. “If you or the EU are not willing to abide by the entire (Good Friday) agreement, then you will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement,” paramilitary adviser Johnson said in a letter. In a dispute that the British press calls “the sausage war,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson has angered the European Union by unilaterally extending the “grace period” that covers the import of British chilled meat into Northern Ireland. The technical dispute is part of a more serious challenge to the Northern Ireland Protocol, a provision of the EU-UK Brexit deal that maintains an open border with the Republic of Ireland. “This means that no government in Northern Ireland is functioning as it should, it means damage to the East-West relationship between Dublin and London,” said Coveney, who spoke to reporters during a visit to Washington. Coveney stressed that tensions over post-Brexit deals should not lead to a further increase in violence.
The British-Irish Agreement is an agreement between the British and Irish Governments. The agreement was binding on the various institutions set out in the multi-party agreement. It also sets out the common position of the two governments on the current and future status of Northern Ireland. The two main political parties in the deal were the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) led by David Trimble and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) led by John Hume. The two Heads of State and Government jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The other parties involved in reaching a deal were Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party and the Progressive Unionist Party. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which later became the largest unionist party, did not support the deal. .