After days of crunch negotiations with the European Union, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally announced his Brexit deal. It solves the problem of the Irish backstop—the need to avoid a hard border between northern Ireland (which is part of the U.K.) and the Irish republic—by leaving Northern Ireland in the EU in all but name. Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party, upon whose votes the deal depends, already say they will be voting against this deal, and Britain's hardcore brexiteers hate it too. The pressure's on: the October 31 deadline threatens to trigger a no-deal Brexit which most experts say would be economically disastrous, but appears to be the Conservative right's barely-hidden agenda.
Most of the deal is the same as the one agreed by Theresa May last year - the main change is the Northern Ireland proposals. What's changed?
Northern Ireland will be aligned to the EU single market.
The controversial "backstop" - that critics feared could have kept the UK in a customs union with the EU indefinitely - has been removed.
Northern Ireland will instead remain a part of the UK's customs territory, so it will be included in any future trade deals struck by the government after Brexit.
But Northern Ireland will also remain an entry point into the EU's customs zone. The UK will apply tariffs to products entering Northern Ireland as long as they are not destined for onward transportation across the border.
Well, that’s good. We can all rest easy now.
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