The agreement was revised as part of the Johnson Department renegotiation in 2019. The amendments fit about 5% of the text.  c) The Northern Ireland Assembly has informed the UK Government of the outcome of the approval procedure at least 5 days before the date on which the United Kingdom will notify the European Union approval procedure. 130 If Britain and the EU agree on a free trade agreement, it can be zero. Goods from third countries may be subject to tariffs. If approval is given, the protocol remains in effect. But as Johnson insisted that the „undemocratic backstop“ agreements reached by his predecessor Theresa May had to go away, including to get the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for a new agreement, some form of approval mechanism was seen as essential. When the government issued the revised withdrawal agreement, it also made a „unilateral declaration“ in which it outlined its interpretation of the approval mechanism established by the protocol. It includes contingency arrangements if Northern Ireland`s de-deceded institutions are suspended as is currently the case when the Northern Ireland Assembly expresses its opinion. The second additional step applies when the CGs have voted in favour of continuing to apply Articles 5 to 10, but only by a simple majority and not with the help of the whole Community. In this case, the UK Government will commission an independent review of the functioning of the protocol and, in particular, the „consequences of any decision to continue or end alignment with social, economic and political life in Northern Ireland.“ The review includes „close consultations“ with Northern Ireland`s political parties, businesses, civil society groups, representative organisations (including the agricultural sector) and trade unions.
It will be concluded within two years of the vote on the democratic approval of the GRG and will make recommendations, „including all new agreements that it believes it can receive from inter-community support.“ The person who will conduct the audit is not specified. The EU and the UK have agreed to create a new approval mechanism that will give the Northern Ireland Assembly a decisive voice for the long-term application of EU law in Northern Ireland, based on intense discussions between Ireland and the UK. The Commission has been in constant and close contact with the Irish Government on this point. Ms Smyth also questioned how the government invoked the principle of approving the Belfast agreement: if the vote passes with the Community`s agreement, approval should not be restored until after eight years. A vote is considered inter-community, although: the withdrawal agreement does not say how Northern Ireland should agree – it is up to the UK to decide how that decision will be taken. The UK government has submitted its proposals for the approval mechanism in a unilateral declaration for which it will legislate before the first approval decision is required, in line with the current timetable that would take place at the end of 2024. However, the democratic approval mechanism does not change the Community approval mechanism in the 1998 agreement; it simply does not apply it to the protocol. Instead, a specific mechanism was agreed to ensure that neither trade unionists nor nationalists had the right of veto over the continued application of Articles 5-10. He added that the approval mechanism had been designed to promote community support „to enable the Assembly to ensure the safety of Businesses and individuals in Northern Ireland for eight years through an inter-community agreement.“