The released text of the agreement between Britain's and the European Union over key Brexit terms obligates both sides to respect the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland, which could have been threatened by the institution of a hard border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
"In Northern Ireland we will guarantee there will be no hard border," the UK PM Theresa May told a press conference in Brussels.
Brussels’ Chief Negotiation Michel Barnier announced that a future trade deal between London and Brussels would be modeled on the existing agreement between the EU and Canada, while blaming the British for imposing red lines on free-movement that left the Europeans no choice.
A leading UK political commentator remains far from convinced Britain has struck a good deal especially over the Irish issue and one even suggesting Mrs. May could have put her government's future in serious doubt.
"Being caught between a rock and a hard place, all of her own making, she decided to take the only sensible option from an international perspective, but one which will infuriate the extremist DUP who she relies on to keep her job. If the DUP Members of Parliament withdraw support for the Conservative government, the government will fall. It was the DUP who made the deal achieved today, fail earlier in the week," Adam Garrie, managing editor of The Duran told Sputnik.
He believes the UK PM has decided to take the very real risk of alienating the DUP or otherwise, they were somehow made an offer they couldn't refuse. He compared it to when Northern Ireland was given disproportional cash injections as an incentive for the DUP to join in the first place.
Under the agreement, Northern Ireland will remain in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market, with the regional Stormont Government having responsibility for ensuring the passage of legislation that continues 'regulatory alignment' with the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the European Union.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May's partners in Government, the Democratic Unionist Party on December 4 torpedoed an emerging deal over concerns that Northern Ireland would be given a separate status from the rest of the United Kingdom, to which the party is adamantly opposed.
Roger Mac Ginty, professor at the department of politics at the University of Manchester, questioned the arrangement and the power of DUP to 'veto' progress of UK-EU negotiations, saying it will continue being a problem.
"Giving further powers to the Northern Ireland government is a risky strategy as that government is incredibly unstable. It collapsed at the beginning of this year and has remained in a state of collapse all year. Moreover, the Scottish government will now be unhappy that Northern Ireland has been given special powers but Scotland has not. Theresa May has an uncanny knack for political miscalculation so we would be wise to be very cautious about any deal with her fingerprints on it," the professor told Sputnik.
He admitted the real breakthrough from the deal has been to give EU citizens in the UK further clarity on their status, something that has been worrying millions of people.
London and Brussels agreed to offer equal treatment in social security, health care, employment and education and to let British judges ask the European Court of Justice to weigh in when necessary for eight years after Brexit.
The agreement, however, does not specify whether UK citizens may move from one EU state to another and retain the same rights.
Peter Stefanovic, a journalist and filmmaker, told Sputnik there now appears little doubt that contrary to what she's said before — Theresa May is now "firmly of the belief that a bad deal is definitely better then no deal."