Posted on Thursday 17 October 2019 by John Mulgrew

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A Brexit deal has been agreed between the EU and the UK more than three years following the referendum.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment."

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said: “This agreement is a fair compromise between the EU and the UK. It is testament to the commitment and willingness of both sides to do what is best for EU and UK citizens. We now have a newly agreed Protocol that protects peace and stability on the island of Ireland and fully protects our Single Market. I hope that we can now bring this over the line and provide the certainty our citizens and businesses so deserve.”

Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator, said: “We had difficult discussions over the past days. We have managed to find solutions that fully respect the integrity of the Single Market. We created a new and legally operative solution to avoid a hard border, and protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is a solution that works for the EU, for the UK and for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.”

The DUP has said it could not support the deal brokered by Mr Johnson.

So, what deal was agreed?

A statement from the European Commission says: “In terms of regulations, Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of rules related to the EU's Single Market in order to avoid a hard border: legislation on goods, sanitary rules for veterinary controls (“SPS rules”), rules on agricultural production/marketing, VAT and excise in respect of goods, and state aid rules.

“In terms of customs, the EU-UK Single Customs Territory, as agreed in November 2018, has been removed from the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, at the request of the current UK government. EU and UK negotiators have now found a new way to achieve the goal of avoiding a customs border on the island of Ireland, while at the same time ensuring Northern Ireland remains part of the UK's customs territory. This agreement fully protects the integrity of the EU's Single Market and Customs Union, and avoids any regulatory and customs checks at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“Finally, the EU and the UK have agreed to create a new mechanism on ‘consent', which will give the Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly a decisive voice on the long-term application of relevant EU law in Northern Ireland. The Commission has been in close contact with the Irish government on this point.”

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