What Does The Backstop Agreement MeanApril 15, 2021 6:45 am
At the start of the Brexit talks, Britain and the EU pledged to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The UK agreed that if no alternative solution could be found, it would be aligned with EU rules on the internal market and customs union in order to keep the border open and without infrastructure. This obligation has been called backstop. It has become the most controversial topic of the Brexit talks and has led to Theresa May`s deal being rejected three times in the House of Commons. The backstop eventually became a “front stop” in Boris Johnson`s withdrawal deal, with Northern Ireland expected to continue to abide by the rules of the EU`s internal market and customs union, while the rest of the UK could split. This avoided a hard border, but had to carry out checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland. Why is the backstop so controversial? The move has hampered Brexit negotiations and has been one of the main reasons why the negotiated divorce agreement was rejected by the British Parliament. Many MPs have criticised the backstop for two main reasons. That this would lead to other rules for Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK (which some considered the integrity of the UK) and that the UK would not be able to leave the backstop without EU authorisation.
Talks resumed in the following days, so a joint report was published on 8 December to report on the commitments that must be taken into account in the withdrawal agreement. The UK and the EU negotiating teams both voted in favour: On 29 January 2019, the House of Commons voted 317 to 301 in favour of Sir Graham Brady`s amendment to the Brexit Next Steps motion, which calls for “the Backstop of the Northern Irishman to be replaced by other provisions.” to avoid a hard border. supports the withdrawal of the European Union by an agreement and would therefore support the withdrawal agreement subject to this amendment. In order to avoid a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Article 6 of the Northern Ireland Protocol proposes that the United Kingdom and EU customs officers act as one from the end of the transition period (December 31, 2020) until the parties agree on a satisfactory alternative for both parties.  The single customs territory between the UK and the EU does not apply to fish products: for example, fish transported from Britain to Northern Ireland would be subject to EU tariffs in the absence of a separate fishing agreement.  Prime Minister Johnson called the backstop “undemocratic” and called for its removal from the divorce treaty. This would mean that Northern Ireland will continue to comply with EU rules on animal health, food safety and industrial products. The backstop is part of the draft withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May`s government and the EU. In the following months, the British Parliament refused three times to ratify the agreement. In July 2019, Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party.
On 28 August 2019, the Johnson government refused to negotiate with Brussels unless the backstop was abolished, which the EU did not say.  A fianna Fail spokesperson said that the plans “are not realistic and are not far from what is needed.” The declared means of the protocol for achieving the objectives (referring to the internal market of the European Union and the customs union) are defined three paragraphs later on the same page: as part of the backstop, the whole of the United Kingdom would enter a “single customs territory” with the EU.