The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland was signed as part of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement and ratified in UK law by the EU Withdrawal (Agreement) Act (2020). It has consequences for the rest of the UK, including Scotland, in four main respects. The first is on trade with Northern Ireland from Great Britain, which is now affected by the application of customs formalities and regulatory checks and controls, as if those goods were in effect entering the EU’s customs union and single market. The second is on the regulatory frameworks enacted in the UK, for which Northern Ireland is definitively aligned with the EU on over 300 legislative acts. The third is with regard to the UK-EU institutions, specifically the Joint Committee for the Withdrawal Agreement, which has the scope to make significant decisions over the Protocol, including as it affects the UK internal market. The fourth – less straightforwardly – is the UK-EU tension and talks over the Protocol, which could potentially result in further trade barriers on UK-EU trade if the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is suspended in part or in full. This briefing outlines the background to the Protocol, its effects, its implementation and its consequences before considering the state of play in the UK-EU talks over the Protocol which have intensified this month.
|Media of output||Scottish Parliament website|
|Publication status||Published - 29 Nov 2021|