Brussels extends Northern Ireland ‘grace period’ for animal medicines

Brussels Extends Northern Ireland ‘Grace Period’ For Animal Medicines Brussels Extends Northern Ireland ‘Grace Period’ For Animal Medicines
European Commission vice-president Maro Sefcovic says veterinary medicines may continue to be bought from the rest of the UK until December 2025. Photo: PA
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By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor

The European Union has agreed to extend the grace period which allows people and businesses in Northern Ireland to purchase animal medicines from the rest of the UK for another three years.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said it was a “practical solution to a practical problem” while underlining the EU’s commitment to resolving the wider issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

British foreign secretary James Cleverly welcomed the announcement which he said would offer “greater certainty” for the veterinary medicines industry in Northern Ireland.


Under the terms of the protocol, Northern Ireland continues to be bound by EU rules on veterinary medicines even though they no longer apply in the rest of the UK.

The grace period – which allowed their continued purchase from the UK – had been due to come to an end at the end of the year. However, Mr Sefcovic said it will now run until December 2025.

It will also cover Cyprus and Malta.

“By extending the current arrangements to December 2025 were are giving ample time to adapt,” Mr Sefcovic said in a statement in Brussels.

“This is a practical solution to a practical problem and it underlines our genuine commitment to engaging constructively with the UK to find agreed solutions around the protocol.

“I therefore hope that we can carry today’s positive announcement into other areas of our discussion. I am convinced that there is a window of opportunity for a positive outcome for the benefit of people and businesses in Northern Ireland.”


The DUP expressed relief at the extension but said grace periods only represented a “sticking plaster” solution to the wider problems with the protocol.

Protocol issues can be fixed ahead of Good Friday...
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MP Carla Lockhart, the party’s environment spokeswoman, said: “This whack-a-mole approach must stop.

“This agreement is only to 2025. The can has only been kicked down the road.

“What we need urgently is the EU and our government to find a new agreement that addresses these intolerable restrictions on the flow of goods within the UK.”

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