The decision not to interpret Article 10 of the withdrawal agreement, which applies EU state aid rules for Northern Ireland, is central to the legislation. It gives the UK government the power to decide what checks will be carried out gradually for goods in Northern Ireland. Under these conditions, the EU will not conclude a free trade agreement. “A violation of international law is unacceptable and does not create the trust we need to establish our future relations,” said Charles Michel, President of the European Council. His remarks were unanimously repeated across the continent by national leaders in their opposition to Johnson`s action. He defended the bill as “as a preventive and proportionate measure,” adding: “What we cannot have is for the EU to try to establish a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain in the Irish Sea.” The agreement contains a complex set of provisions in a number of areas, including: a new analysis we have just finalised shows that Parliament`s objection to the backstop amounts to an implicit rejection of the Good Friday Agreement, the agreement that ended the armed conflict in Northern Ireland. The reasons why Parliament opposes the “backstop” are precisely what made the peace agreement work. The agreement sets out a framework for the creation and number of institutions in three “parts.” In the context of political violence during the riots, the agreement forced participants to find “exclusively democratic and peaceful means to resolve political differences.” Regarding the proposed legislation, he said: “This is a threat to the Good Friday Agreement, because it reopens the agreement with the EU, the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has found a way to balance the problem and keep the border open between Northern Ireland and the Republic.” To be quite clear, the British approach is defensive in relation to what the EU is doing. It is preventative – we have not done any of this – and it is proportionate. The agreement was for Northern Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom and remain in place until a majority of the population of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise. If this happens, the British and Irish governments will be “obliged” to implement this decision. The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all within the Community.” The multi-party agreement recognized “the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance with regard to linguistic diversity,” particularly with regard to the Irish language, Ulster Scots and the languages of other ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, “all of which are part of the cultural richness of the Island of Ireland.” The agreement was reached between the British and Irish governments as well as eight northern Ireland political parties or groups. Three were representative of unionism: the Ulster Unionist Party, which had led unionism in Ulster since the early 20th century, and two small parties linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the Progressive Unionist Party (linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Democratic Party (the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).