Specific Economic Region  •  Analyses & Studies

Windsor Framework: The New Deal on the Irish Border explained


Much has been made of the Windsor Framework - the new agreement to replace the Northern Ireland Protocol - as hinting at a new era in the UK’s relationship with the EU. After 3 years of tensions with the UK threatening unilateral action and the threat of EU retaliation, an agreement has finally been reached. We’ve put together three things members should know about the Windsor Framework.

New import and export rules that will create two distinct lanes - green and red - at the Northern Irish border.  

Goods from the UK heading to Northern Ireland through the green lane will face fewer checks and paperwork. However, British goods that are deemed to be at risk of entering the EU, or are destined for the EU, will continue to be subject to standard customs procedures and checks through the red lane. 

Additionally, the new agreement will also implement UK VAT rules on immediate consumption alcoholic drinks and immovable goods, like heat pumps, to simplify the import process for Northern Ireland. The move is expected to reduce the amount of paperwork and make the process smoother for businesses importing these goods. The new policy is set to be implemented progressively, providing a welcome relief for traders facing uncertainty in the post-Brexit landscape.

The ‘Stormont Brake’ allows the Northern Ireland Assembly to object to any new EU goods rules that are "significantly different" from those in the UK. 

This gives the Assembly greater control over the regulatory framework in the region and ensures that they have a say in any significant changes that could affect businesses operating in Northern Ireland. 

In addition, the scope of EU law in Northern Ireland has been considerably reduced under the Windsor Framework. While the European Court of Justice will remain the final arbiter for any disputes, this new agreement represents a significant departure from the Northern Ireland Protocol, providing greater autonomy and flexibility for businesses operating in the region.  

As a result, the Windsor Framework is expected to have far-reaching implications for businesses in Northern Ireland, potentially simplifying the regulatory environment while also providing greater control over the rules governing trade in the region.  

With the Northern Ireland issue resolved, there is now hope for a more constructive approach to the 5-year review of Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) in 2025. 

Timing is everything. The breakthrough on Northern Ireland allowed the French and British governments to approach the bilateral Summit on 10 March without the shadow of Brexit looming in the background during the Franco-British Summit, and if the positive dialogue around mobility, defence and collaboration on net zero and energy transition is mirrored in the TCA review then this would be welcomed by business.  

The Chamber continues to promote the interests of our members and the importance of French investment in the UK economy to key governmental stakeholders.  A delegation of members will meet with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in Manchester in May. To get involved and find out more information, click here

We are currently considering how best to respond to the TCA review. We would welcome members' view on how what they would like to see in the TCA Review. If you would like to share your view, get in touch with Cecilia Pennetier, External Relations & Policy Officer at cpennetier(@)ccfgb.co.uk 

Share this page Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Linkedin