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New Brexit proposal

17.10.2019 – Michel Barnier hailed the Brexit deal agreed between Brussels and London as a “fair and reasonable result” after days of intensive negotiations.  On customs, both sides agreed to a remarkable balancing act: Northern Ireland will officially be part of the U.K.’s customs territory, meaning that it applies U.K. tariffs and can participate in future British trade deals, but at the same time the EU-U.K. customs border is placed in the Irish Sea, meaning that de facto Northern Ireland follows the EU’s customs rules.Under this fudge, U.K. customs authorities will check goods at British ports before they enter Northern Ireland. Those goods can pass without paying tariffs as long as their final destination is Northern Ireland and they are consequently “not at risk of entering our single market,” Barnier told reporters Thursday. “However for goods at risk of entering the single market, U.K. authorities will apply the EU’s tariffs,” he added.The criteria for defining such a risk will be worked out during the transition period by a Joint Committee — the body set up under the Withdrawal Agreement to police the deal — taking into account specifics such as the value of the good or the nature of movement. The Joint Committee will also define exemptions, such as for fishing vessels from Northern Ireland that operate under a British flag and that won’t need to pay tariffs when selling catch into the EU. The new trading arrangements will take effect immediately after the Brexit transition period ends in December 2020 without any vote of consent in Northern Ireland. But after four years, Northern Ireland will have a say. Devising a mechanism of democratic consent underpins the deal and had been one of the major sticking points in negotiations.Under the terms agreed, the Northern Irish Assembly will hold a vote within two months before that four-year period ends on whether to continue the arrangements or not. If it agrees by a simple majority, the trading rules will apply for a further four years. If the rules win “cross-community” support in the assembly, they will apply for a further eight years. Cross-community support would mean not only a simple majority across all members, but a majority among parties on each side of the republican-unionist divide, or the support of 60 percent of members, including 40 percent on each side.However, if the vote on an extension fails even to win a simple majority, the new trading rules will only extend for two years. During that period the Joint Committee will have to work out a new system to keep the border open while protecting the single market. At a press conference introducing the deal Thursday, Barnier described that two years as a “cooling off” period. The question now is if Johnson will get the deal trough the Parlimenat. More: here

Source: EC Press

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