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The future of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland remains uncertain, a year after it came fully into force. The arrangements continue to be a major source of tension in the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship and within Northern Ireland, with the first minister citing the DUP’s objections to the protocol for his recent resignation. The ongoing uncertainty around the protocol is having a real impact on business and society. And with the May 2022 elections to the Northern Ireland assembly approaching and a question mark over Stormont’s future, the UK and the EU are under pressure to reach agreement on the future of the protocol.
What lessons are there from the protocol’s first year? Why does the protocol continue to be a source of tension in the UK-EU relationship and such a divisive issue in Northern Ireland? Are attitudes changing? Where are the sticking points, and where is the protocol working well? What challenges are coming down the track and where can compromise be found?
Set against the results of new polling from Queen’s University Belfast, this event explored what people in Northern Ireland think of the protocol, the challenges that the UK and the EU face in managing the protocol and its consequences in the long term, and how people from Northern Ireland can be involved in the effective governance of the protocol’s implementation.
- Professor Katy Hayward, Professor of Political Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast and Senior Fellow at UK in a Changing Europe
- Professor David Phinnemore, Professor of European Politics at Queen’s University Belfast
- Raoul Ruparel, former Special Adviser to Theresa May on Europe
- Jess Sargeant, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Government
This event was chaired by Jill Rutter, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government.
We would like to thank Queen's University Belfast and the Economic and Social Research Council for kindly supporting this event.