What is the Windsor Framework?

1 min read
What is the Windsor Framework? Blog Image


The UK Government recently reached a landmark deal with the European Union (Known as Windsor Framework) on post-Brexit trade rules that will govern Northern Ireland.

About Windsor Framework:

  • The ‘Windsor Framework’ will replace the Northern Ireland Protocol.

What is Northern Ireland Protocol?

  • Northern Ireland is a British-ruled province and part of the United Kingdom that shares a long porous border with Ireland, a member of the European Union.

  • Trade over the open border when Britain left the EU was one of the most difficult parts of the Brexit negotiations which culminated in the Northern Ireland Protocol.

  • The protocol is part of the Brexit deal, which sets Northern Ireland's trade rules.

  • It keeps Northern Ireland inside the EU's single market for goods.

  • It keeps the Irish land border open but means products arriving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK are subject to checks and controls.

  • The checks made trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland cumbersome.

Features of Windsor Framework:

  • The framework has two crucial aspects – the introduction of a two lanes system and the ‘Stormont Brake’.
  • The two lanes:
    • Goods from Britain destined for Northern Ireland will travel through a new "green lane", with a separate "red lane" for goods at risk of moving onto the EU.
    • Products coming into Northern Ireland through the green lane would see checks and paperwork significantly reduced.
    • Red lane goods would still be subject to checks.
    • Bans on certain products - like chilled sausages - entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain would be removed.
    • Northern Ireland would also no longer have to follow certain EU rules, for example, on VAT and alcohol duties. The new agreement reduces the proportion of EU rules applied in Northern Ireland to less than 3%.
  • Stormont brake:
    • Under this, the democratically elected Northern Ireland Assembly can oppose new EU goods rules that would have significant and lasting effects on everyday lives in Northern Ireland.
    • The brake cannot be used for "trivial reasons" but reserved for "significantly different" rules
    • Once the UK tells the EU the brake has been triggered, the rule cannot be implemented.
    • It can only be applied if the UK and EU agree.


Q1) What is Brexit?

‘Brexit’ is the name given to the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. It is a combination of ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’.

Source: Windsor Framework: What is the deal UK and EU have reached to solve the Northern Ireland Protocol tangle