Brexit: the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement on border controls in Northern Ireland

Rishi Sunak receives Ursula von der Leyen in Windsor (Reuters) (POOL /)

The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, British government sources reported this Monday.

The agreement culminates negotiations on Monday between the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunakand the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, in the town of Windsor (east London), according to an official source of the Executive of the United Kingdom to British media. They are expected to offer a joint press conference in the afternoon.

The particular situation of Northern Ireland, a territory of the United Kingdom and a border with the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU, has been one of the most important stumbling blocks in the negotiations between the London government and the Twenty-seven to reach the Brexit agreement. , with the objective of avoid a physical border between the two Irelands, in order not to harm the peace agreement that put an end to the sectarian conflict between Catholics and Protestants in 1998.

After two years of disagreements between the European Union and the previous British governments to unblock this crisis, the relief that Sunak took over from Boris Johnson at the head of Downing Street at the end of last year allowed the rapprochement between London and Brussels and the reactivation of negotiations to design “pragmatic solutions”.

The pact reached between Sunak and Von der Leyen still needs to pass the judgment of both the British Parliament and the community blocAlthough it remains to be seen what the processing process will be. He is likely to face opposition from Brexit supporters, including Sunak’s predecessor, potentially rogue Boris Johnson, and from lawmakers representing Northern Ireland’s pro-British unionist community.

For the moment, the prime minister plans to appear this Monday before the House of Commons while, on the European side, the vice president of the Community Executive who has led the negotiations, Maros Sefcovic, meets with the ambassadors of the 27 in Brussels to transfer them the details of the last conversations.

The British government had threatened a unilateral review of the protocol unless the EU agreed to substantial changes, which would sour diplomatic ties and risk a broader trade war, but that prospect seems receding.

“I am looking forward to turning the page and opening a new chapter with our partner and friend,” von der Leyen declared as he left Brussels ahead of the talks.

The EU chief was also scheduled to meet King Charles III during her stay in Windsor, fueling allegations in Britain that Sunak was trying to project royal support for the long-awaited deal. Sunak’s spokesman insisted that the monarch’s meeting with von der Leyen was decided by Buckingham Palace.

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