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John Simpson

It’s not easy to keep UK functioning as a single market following Brexit

John Simpson


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Stormont has been muted on post-Brexit debate

Stormont has been muted on post-Brexit debate

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

Getty Images

Stormont has been muted on post-Brexit debate

Leaving the European single market has become a complicated process. There are many agreements, legal requirements and informal working arrangements which were built up during the 40+ years of UK membership of the EU to unscramble.

A large part of the consequential operational detail for trading relations affecting Northern Ireland (and Ireland) are features of the protocol agreed between the UK and the EU. However, alongside the trading agreement built into the protocol, there are at least 166 pieces of EU policy, regulation or shared competence, which must now be superseded after Brexit. These policy areas are currently under discussion as part of the final stage talks between the EU and the UK Government.

Decision making on the adaptation or replacement of the successors to these 166 policy areas has involved the UK Government and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What has now become clear is that the four governments have not found a ready agreement on what happens next.