Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal for Northern Ireland has been formally signed off at a meeting, as both the UK and the EU hope for better relations.
The Government won support from MPs for the Windsor Framework earlier this week before Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic chaired a meeting on Friday to adopt the new arrangements for Northern Ireland.
The deal has been hailed as an agreement that will deliver “lasting certainty” for people in Northern Ireland while promising that London and Brussels would “exploit the full potential” of the wider trade deal.
Cleverly and Sefcovic described the meeting as “constructive atmosphere” following months of negotiations to reach the final deal.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic chaired a meeting on Friday
MPs voted in favour of the Stormont brake, which is a key part of the Windsor agreement, despite Boris Johnson and Liz Truss joining the Democratic Unionist Party and hardline Brexit-backing Tory MPs in voting against the deal.
It comes as Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s party continues to reject the deal, with no sign of the DUP willing to return to powersharing.
Ahead of the meeting, The DUP was warned that there was no prospect of renegotiating the deal.
In the joint statement, Cleverly and Sefovic shared the benefits of the Windsor agreement, promising to “work together intensively and faithfully to implement all elements of the Windsor Framework”.
The final sign-off took place at a meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, with the Foreign Secretary and Sefcovic also attending a meeting of the Partnership Council.
Both sides also discussed problems that could have the potential to cause concern in European capitals and in Northern Ireland, with the UK Retained EU Law Bill and the Government’s plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights.
Sources insist that the EU did not raise concerns but instead had questions as part of broader discussions about the Windsor deal and other issues.
Britain hopes that the deal on the protocol will mark a step towards UK participation in the EU’s 100 billion euro Horizon programme, with science and research likely to feature in official discussions between the pair.
European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic said the EU will promise to ‘work together intensively and faithfully to implement all elements of the Windsor Framework’
The statement said that the UK and EU “noted the openness of both sides to take forward discussions on association in the coming weeks”.
“The European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom reaffirmed their desire to exploit fully the potential of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and maximise the potential of the relationship between the EU and the UK in ways that benefit both parties.”
“We’ve formally adopted the Windsor Framework,” Cleverly said.
“This delivers on our commitment to the people of Northern Ireland. Great to see you in London,” tweeted to Sefcovic.