Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Ue-Uk agreement on Northern Ireland

Written by Redazione

The European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom reached a political agreement in principle on the Windsor Framework – a comprehensive set of joint solutions aimed at addressing, in a definitive way, the practical challenges faced by citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland. You can find the EU announcement here and the UK announcement here

Of particular interest to us:

  • Goods from Britain destined for Northern Ireland will travel through a new "green lane", with a separate "red lane" for goods at risk of moving onto the EU. Products coming into Northern Ireland through the green lane would see checks and paperwork significantly reduced. For example, in the area of customs, trusted traders will enjoy smoother processes when transporting goods for end use in Northern Ireland. In addition, certificates for organics and wine shipments from Great Britain destined for Northern Ireland would be removed.
  • UK public health and safety standards will apply for all retail food and drink in the UK internal market. UK standards will also apply more broadly for GB-NI trade, covering rules on public health, marketing, organics, labelling, genetic modification, and drinks such as wines, spirits and mineral waters – including, it would seem, labelling & production rules.
  • The Commission and the UK government have agreed on a number of measures to avoid any unintended consequences of EU VAT and excise rules applying in Northern Ireland. This is possible as the Protocol recognises the specific situation of Northern Ireland, which on the one side is following the EU's rules in the areas of VAT and excise for goods, while on the other side the Protocol takes into account Northern Ireland's integral place in the UK's Internal Market. On the excise side specifically, the Commission and the UK government have agreed that the UK may be able to tax all alcoholic beverages based on their alcoholic strength in Northern Ireland, thereby diverging from EU rules on the structure of excise duties, and to apply reduced excise duty rates to all alcohol and alcoholic beverages served for immediate consumption in hospitality venues. The UK will not be able to apply any duty rate below the EU minima.

The European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom will proceed, within the remit of their respective powers, with the necessary steps to translate the joint solutions into legally binding instruments and to implement these swiftly and in good faith.

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