Deal on Northern Ireland protocol ‘could be struck next week’

Deal on Northern Ireland protocol ‘could be struck next week’

Northern Ireland: According to sources, the final phase of negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol is ongoing, and a deal could be reached as early as next week. 

Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to hold calls with EU leaders to discuss the shape of the agreement. 

However, no final agreement is guaranteed as talks are still at a delicate stage. 

The deal would involve a compromise on the European court of justice, allowing Northern Ireland courts to adjudicate disputes on devolved issues. 

It would also provide a “carve-out” for retail and possibly wholesalers of farm and agrifood products, enabling supermarket chains such as Marks & Spencer to sell products to Northern Ireland without additional customs paperwork or checks. 

In addition, a new arbitration panel is being considered to remove the ECJ as the sole arbiter in trade disputes. 

However, the announcement of the agreement will depend on EU member states and parties in Northern Ireland, including the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is currently blocking the formation of a power-sharing government at Stormont.

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