Brexit: Brussels and London find first agreement on Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom and the European Union have reached an initial agreement on the status of Northern Ireland as part of their bilateral relations post-Brexit.

The agreement deals with EU access to British IT systems, which will give EU details on the goods going towards Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

The breakthrough came after European Commissioner Maros Sefcovic met with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris. They meet again on Monday, 16 January, by which time their technical staff should be able to clarify the solutions that the agreement now reached can offer in various areas.

As is well known, Brexit has caused practical problems, especially in Northern Ireland. The region left the European Union with the rest of the UK but remained part of the European Customs Union.

To protect the European single market, controls are needed on goods shipped from Britain to Northern Ireland. However, there can be no question of erecting a “hard” border with the Republic of Ireland – an EU member state – because of the Good Friday peace agreement.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, also known as the Belfast Peace Agreement, ended the troubles that had raged in Northern Ireland for 30 years, and established a consensus for peace and the future direction of the region.

The draft agreement that has now been found should restore mutual trust and provide a new basis for EU-UK negotiations, Sefcovic, Cleverly and Heaton-Harris said.



Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels