Northern Ireland Protocol

Agreement between the UK and the EU

The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, commonly abbreviated to the Northern Ireland Protocol, is a protocol to the Brexit withdrawal agreement that governs the unique customs and immigration issues at the border on the island of Ireland between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union, and on some aspects of trade in goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Its terms were negotiated in 2019 before the UK general election, and concluded in December of that year. The withdrawal agreement as a whole, including the protocol, was ratified in January 2020. The UK-Ireland border has had a special status since the thirty-year internecine conflict in Northern Ireland was ended by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. As part of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, the border has been largely invisible, without any physical barrier or custom checks on its many crossing points; this arrangement was made possible by both countries' common membership of both the EU's Single Market and Customs Union and of their Common Travel Area.

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