UK and EU formally adopt new Windsor Framework in London ceremony on Friday

Mon 27 Mar 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Foreign secretary James Cleverly and Maroš Šefčovič

Image: UK foreign secretary James Cleverly (left) and European Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič (right). Source: 

The Windsor Framework has been formally signed by both the UK and EU governments in a ceremony held in London late last week.

On Friday (24 March), UK foreign secretary James Cleverly and European Commission (EC) vice president Maroš Šefčovič met to officially adopt the framework.

The framework was agreed to by prime minister Rishi Sunak and EC president Ursula von der Leyen in late February, and made a number of changes to the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol.

Symbols and formality

Friday’s ceremony was a mere formality after the agreement was effectively approved by MPs in the House of Commons last week.

A vote on one of the framework’s elements, the Stormont brake, was largely seen as an approval of the overall agreement, according to Sky News.

The brake allows the Northern Irish devolved assembly to veto EU laws.

Unionist opposition remains

The Guardian notes that the framework received backing from the majority of MPs, with only the DUP and 22 Conservative rebels – including former PMs Boris Johnson and Liz Truss – voting against it.

According to the BBC, DUP MP Gregory Campbell said that this ratification was “not the final word” on the matter. Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister also heavily criticised the deal in a speech to his party’s conference.

Future cooperation

Cleverly said:

“By formally approving the Windsor Framework, we are delivering on our commitment to provide stability and certainty for Northern Ireland.

“The framework is the best deal for Northern Ireland, safeguarding its place in the Union and protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

I look forward to further effective cooperation with the EU on key issues, such as security and energy.”


According to a foreign office statement, the two leaders met at the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee to sign the agreement.

This committee was followed by a partnership council, which oversees the implementation, application and interpretation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The council covered topics of wider UK-EU cooperation, such as the UK’s access to EU science and research programmes, energy, trade and security.