So the deal’s done - the Irish border issue is agreed between the EU and the UK.
Michel Barnier - EU Chief Brexit Negotiator said "The solution that we found rests on four main elements."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists it’s a good replacement to the Irish backstop. In his predecessor’s deal the backstop was a transitional agreement to basically insure the Irish border remained free flowing even if the Eu and the UK ran into difficultly negotiating a trade deal later on. In this new deal - what’s agreed is a final position. So what is it?
What they’ve decided is that goods entering Northern Ireland will be checked like any goods entering the UK. And there won’t be checks for goods crossing the border. Any border infrastructure was considered to be in breach of the Good Friday Peace agreement. The next point is on duties which you have to pay when taking good across borders.
And to deal with that, Northern Ireland will have to charge business duties that are importing goods onto their territory which are destined to end up in the European Union. This means there doesn’t need to be checks across the border."
And the explanation to that was essentially it’s resolved. It appears that Northern Ireland will need to enforce EU VAT but that the UK will collect that tax. This means Northern Ireland will essential remains under the EU’s rules on this aspect. Something unpalatable to the Democratic Unionist Party."
So this is a vote where member of the Northern Irish assembly will get to vote on whether to keep the whole thing going or not. But the vote is by qualified majority and not, like in many votes in the assembly, by full communities consent. And the DUP party which props up Boris Johnson’s Tory government were insisting on that so they could veto any decision. This deal now has to be passed by MPs in Westminster - if it’s not, there’s very little appetite here in Brussels or around EU capitals to renegotiate further.