UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is visiting Belfast to convince Unionist politicians to support his Brexit agreement with the European Union, which was announced on Monday. The deal aims to resolve the trade dispute over Northern Ireland that has strained UK-EU relations since Brexit in 2020.
The agreement will ease customs checks and other obstacles for goods moving to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, which was imposed to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and its EU neighbor, the Republic of Ireland. While the deal has been hailed as a breakthrough by London and Brussels, Northern Ireland’s British Unionist politicians are yet to give it their support.
Their support is essential to restoring Northern Ireland’s semi-autonomous government, which has been suspended by the trade feud, leaving 1.9 million people without a functioning administration. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a border with an EU member. The agreement was also welcomed by business groups and the White House.