The agreement consists of two related documents, both agreed on Good Friday in Belfast on 10 April 1998: the North-South Ministerial Council was created to strengthen cooperation between the two sides of Ireland. The second part dealt with the «North-South» themes and the institutions to be created between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. A copy of the agreement was published in every assembly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so that people could read before a referendum where they could vote. The most controversial issue was the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland. The border, heavily militarized during the conflict, has since become essentially invisible, with people and goods crossing freely. This was largely possible because Ireland and the United Kingdom were part of the EU single market, a common set of rules that allow the free movement of goods, services, people and money within the bloc. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is included in the UK`s withdrawal agreement from the EU, confirmed that the Good Friday Agreement must be protected in all its parts. In a major compromise, the parties agreed on measures to promote the Irish language, which trade unionists have long opposed to the fear that it will increase nationalist and republican culture to the detriment of their own. In return, the agreement contained provisions to promote Ulster-Scots, traditionally spoken by descendants of Protestants from Scotland to Northern Ireland. Negotiations were also reinforced by commitments in Dublin and London for increased funding for hospitals, schools and other social services in Northern Ireland. On 11 January 2020, on the basis of the New Decade Agreement, the new concept, the executive and the Power-Sharing Assembly, the Executive and the Assembly were reinstated, to the participation of the five main political parties in Northern Ireland.
In 2004, negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP, and Sinn Féin, for an agreement to restore the institutions. The talks failed, but a document published by governments detailing the changes to the Belfast agreement was known as the «comprehensive agreement.» However, on 26 September 2005, it was announced that the Provisional Republican Army of Ireland had completely closed its arsenal of weapons and had «taken it out of service». Nevertheless, many trade unionists, especially the DUP, remained skeptical. Among the loyalist paramilitaries, only the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had decommissioned all weapons.  Further negotiations took place in October 2006 and resulted in the St Andrews Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement, also known as the Belfast Agreement, was signed on Good Friday on 10 April 1998. It consists of two closely linked agreements, the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Multi-Party Agreement. It led to the creation of a decentralised system of government in Northern Ireland and the creation of many new institutions, such as the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, the North South South Ministerial Council and the British Irish Council. As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing Inter-Parliamentary Commission in English-Irish. Prior to the agreement, the body was composed only of parliamentarians from the British and Irish assemblies. In 2001, as proposed by the agreement, it was extended to include parliamentarians of all members of the Anglo-Irish Council.