Compromises from both sides reason for optimism for future trading relationship.
27 February 2023 – The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the Windsor Framework announced by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this afternoon, which will significantly amend the Northern Ireland Protocol. Speaking at a Chamber event in the Mansion House, Dublin, Director General of the Chamber John McGrane stated that the Chamber hopes that this deal marks the start of a new chapter in EU-UK relations.
“We welcome today’s deal, and the outline of a framework which indicates what we hope will be the settled solution to the long-running impasse over the Northern Ireland Protocol. We hope that today marks the start of a return of certain, deliberate, predictable and pragmatic relations between the EU and the UK.
“With uncertainty over the Protocol and the governance of Northern Ireland, businesses in Northern Ireland have found themselves unable to avail of the full benefits of the unique trading position that they find themselves in, with unfettered access to sell goods into the EU’s Single Market and the full UK internal market. We hope today marks a new beginning for businesses considering investing in Northern Ireland or establishing joint ventures between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain. We would encourage all stakeholders to give this framework the consideration it deserves as a pathway to the certainty that all businesses crave.
“We expect that given today’s announcement, the UK government will immediately withdraw the extremely damaging Northern Ireland Protocol Bill from passage through Parliament and urgently listen to the concerns of businesses around the Retained EU Law Bill, which threatens a regulatory nightmare for businesses.
“For its part, we encourage the EU to promptly signal its intent to grant the UK associate member status to Horizon Europe, its multilateral research funding programme, from which it has blocked the UK due to disagreements over the Protocol. Furthermore, the Chamber would like to see all the EU – UK specialised Committees and Working Groups established under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement refocus their efforts to ensure EU – UK trade can fulfil its potential in a post-Brexit context.
“Today marks a long-awaited day, where we see the positive mood of the past few months crystallise into a concrete agreement. What has been announced, including a Red-Lane/Green-Lane approach to goods entering Northern Ireland and augmented powers for Stormont, including a role in pre-legislative scrutiny of EU law, shows a welcome willingness to compromise from both sides, showing a flexibility that we have not seen over recent years. This willingness to compromise is reason for optimism, as are the solutions which have been agreed to, which match the solutions proposed by the Chamber for the duration of this impasse.