NI Protocol agreement: Derry Chamber hopes for 'speedy' return of NI Executive

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Derry’s Chamber of Commerce has expressed hopes that the EU/ UK agreement on reworked NI Protocol arrangements will pave the way for a restoration of power-sharing at Stormont.

Speaking after the announcement that the UK and EU have reached an agreement over the Protocol, Chamber President Selina Horshi said this has been a ‘turbulent period for businesses’, and that ‘clarity and certainty are welcome’.

"While we await the full legal text of the agreement, the efforts of UK and EU officials and ministers must be commended in getting us to this point,” Selina Horshi said.

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“We are hopeful that this new agreement will further smooth trade for local businesses, iron out any of the problems for traders, and bolster our unique market position which guarantees this part of the world access to the European and British markets. However, above all, we are hopeful that this deal now paves the way for the full and speedy return of the Executive and Assembly at Stormont.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hold a press conference at Windsor Guildhall on February 27, 2023 in Windsor, England. EU President Ursula Von Der Leyen travelled to the UK today to meet UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to sign off on the agreement on the post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland. They agreed yesterday to continue their work in person towards shared, practical solutions for the range of complex challenges around the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)WINDSOR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hold a press conference at Windsor Guildhall on February 27, 2023 in Windsor, England. EU President Ursula Von Der Leyen travelled to the UK today to meet UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to sign off on the agreement on the post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland. They agreed yesterday to continue their work in person towards shared, practical solutions for the range of complex challenges around the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hold a press conference at Windsor Guildhall on February 27, 2023 in Windsor, England. EU President Ursula Von Der Leyen travelled to the UK today to meet UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to sign off on the agreement on the post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland. They agreed yesterday to continue their work in person towards shared, practical solutions for the range of complex challenges around the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“Local political decision-making has been stalled for long enough. We hope that this deal means our MLAs who were elected nearly one year ago can get back to work and start delivering progressive legislation and fresh policies for businesses and households across Northern Ireland.”

The British government said the Windsor Framework, agreed by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, replaces the old Northern Ireland Protocol, providing a ‘new legal and UK constitutional framework’.

Rishi Sunak said: “It delivers free-flowing trade in goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland by removing any sense of the border in the Irish Sea for goods staying within the UK. These goods will travel as normal through a new green lane without red tape or unnecessary checks, with the only checks remaining designed to prevent smuggling or crime.

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“It protects Northern Ireland’s place in our Union, replacing swathes of EU laws with UK laws and ensuring the people of Northern Ireland can benefit from the same tax policies, food and drink, medicines, and parcels as the rest of the UK.

Selena Horshi.Selena Horshi.
Selena Horshi.

“It puts the people of Northern Ireland in charge with active democratic consent. The Agreement rewrites the Treaty text with a new Stormont Brake that means the UK can veto new EU goods laws if they are not supported by both communities in Northern Ireland, which goes far beyond previous agreements or discussions on the old Protocol.”

Ursula von der Leyen said: "The new Windsor Framework will ensure that the same food will be available on supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland as in the rest of the UK. Furthermore, the new Windsor Framework will permanently enable all medicines, including novel ones, to be available in Northern Ireland at the same time, under the same conditions as in the rest of the UK. For this to work, we have agreed on safeguards like IT access, labels and enforcement procedures that will protect the integrity of the European Union's Single Market. The new Windsor Framework respects and protects our respective markets and our respective legitimate interests. And most importantly, it protects the very hard-earned peace gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement for the people of Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland.”