UK set to win EU sausage war with Northern Ireland exemption

UK set to win sausage war as the EU prepares to give British bangers an exemption from meat rules in bid to break deadlock over Northern Ireland protocol

  • British products set for exemption from the bloc’s rules on third-country goods
  • Two sides at loggerheads over a ban chilled exports crossing the Irish Sea
  • The plan would have to be signed off by the EU27 before it came into effect. 

The EU appeared ready to surrender the Northern Ireland sausage war today as Brussels sought to ease the tense row over post-Brexit trade.

British products entering Ulster will be granted an exemption from the bloc’s rules on third-country goods under plans expected to be revealed by the European Commission next week.

The two sides have been at loggerheads this year over a ban chilled exports crossing the Irish Sea, caused by Northern Ireland’s special post-Brexit trade status.

Britain is attempting to have the wider Northern Ireland Protocol rewritten to ease goods trade and resulting social tension, something the EU is refusing to do.

However, reports from Brussels today suggested that Brexit commissioner, Maros Sefcovic is preparing to unveil the EU’s plans next week, which will include a ‘national identity’ exemption for UK produce.

The plan would have to be signed off by the EU27 before it came into effect. 

Reports from Brussels today suggested that Brexit commissioner, Maros Sefcovic is preparing to unveil the EU’s plans next week, which will include a ‘national identity’ exemption for UK produce.

The two sides have been at loggerheads this year over a ban on chilled meat exports – including sausages – crossing the Irish Sea, caused by Northern Ireland’s special post-Brexit trade status

Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, said the White House has significant concern’ about UK plans to unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol before Christmas.

It came as  one of Joe Biden’s top aides warned today that Boris Johnson’s row with the EU over Northern Ireland risks creating ‘a serious risk to stability’.

Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, said the White House has significant concern’ about UK threats to unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol before Christmas.

His comments came after Brexit Minister Lord Frost set a November deadline for a solution to the protocol deadlock, warning the EU the UK ‘cannot wait forever’ for border checks to be improved. 

He said there will be a ‘decision point’ early next month when it will become apparent if it is possible for the two sides to agree a solution to resolve ongoing disruption to intra-UK trade.  

London has threatened to unilaterally suspend the agreement if Brussels does not agree to scrap the protocol and replace it – something the EU is refusing to contemplate.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Sullivan said: ‘The United States government, as President Biden said in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Johnson, strongly supports the Good Friday agreement, believes it must be protected, believes that peace and stability in Northern Ireland must be protected.’ 

London has threatened to unilaterally suspend the agreement if Brussels does not agree to scrap the protocol and replace it, after it caused problems and social unrest in Northern Ireland

‘The Northern Ireland protocol was agreed between the EU and the UK and our view is that the two sides should work together in a constructive way to find a deal and a way forward. 

‘Without something like the Northern Ireland protocol and with the possibility of the return of a hard border between NI and the Republic of Ireland, we will have a serious risk to stability and to the sanctity of the Good Friday agreement, and that is of significant concern to the US.’

However, the Government is likely to pick up on his talk of ‘something like’ the protocol as a tacit suggestion that a suitable alternative might be acceptable to the Biden administration. 

The Government has repeatedly threatened to trigger Article 16 of the protocol which would allow Britain to unilaterally walk away from some of the rules. 

However, such a move would spark a furious response in Brussels and would likely lead to a legal challenge.  

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