The European Union and the United Kingdom are approaching an agreement on the customs union, with a possible solution in sight for the separate status of Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Brussels would have approved a proposal by the British not to carry out routine checks on products intended for Northern Ireland.
The EU would also have agreed that the European Court of justice can only rule on Northern Ireland if the judges in that country refer a case. Previously, the EU did not agree to this. The exact role of the European Court would still be the subject of debate. The rules for inspecting livestock are also still being discussed.
With the breakthrough, the long battle over the position of Northern Ireland after Brexit may come to an end. Since the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU three years ago, trade agreements have been in force on Northern Ireland, but according to the British, they destabilize the political situation in that country. The UK single market is also affected.
The British wanted to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland at all costs, as this could increase tensions. At the time of Brexit, it was agreed that Northern Ireland would remain part of the European single market. Since then, there have been many restrictions on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the kingdom.
The British government decided last year to unilaterally change the agreements on Northern Ireland from the Brexit agreement. The EU then initiated criminal proceedings.