UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (left rear) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (right rear) attend a joint press conference in Windsor, Britain, on Feb 27, 2023. (PHOTO / HANDOUT VIA XINHUA)
LONDON – A new deal aimed at easing post-Brexit trade tensions in Northern Ireland was formally adopted on Friday by the United Kingdom and the European Union, the parties announced in a joint statement.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic signed off the deal during their meeting in London.
According to their joint statement, both the UK and the EU had taken a "positive approach" and "reaffirmed their intent" to use the framework to resolve any future trade issues.
READ MORE: N. Ireland first minister quits over post-Brexit trade rules
The content of the new deal, dubbed the "Windsor Framework," was finalized in late February after long negotiations.
It aims to resolve the trading issues created by its predecessor, the Northern Ireland Protocol, which imposed border checks on British goods arriving in Northern Ireland.
As a central element of the new deal, the "Stormont Brake" – taking on the Irish name of the Northern Ireland Assembly – is intended to give Northern Ireland's lawmakers more say over EU rules set to apply in the region.
ALSO READ: Northern Ireland post-Brexit talks nearly done, says EU
While Northern Ireland's political parties broadly support the framework, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has questioned how the "Stormont Brake" will operate. As a sign of protest, the party has refused to join the power-sharing government at the Stormont for over a year, undermining political stability.