EU expected to extend Northern Ireland Protocol grace period on chilled meats

ireland
Eu Expected To Extend Northern Ireland Protocol Grace Period On Chilled Meats
The issue proved to be contentious at the recent G7 summit in Cornwall
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The European Union is expected to agree to an extension to a grace period that would allow the continued export of unfrozen meats to Northern Ireland from Britain, something which has caused huge issues in the North's post-Brexit arrangements.

The grace period had been due to expire next week but the UK Government has requested an extension until September to provide extra time to reach a solution in the “sausage war”.

The issue proved to be contentious at the recent G7 summit in Cornwall.

At a meeting on Wednesday the European Commission’s lead on relations with the UK Maroš Šefcovic advised the 27 member states to agree to extend the grace period.

Caveats

While the member states backed the suggestion, there will be caveats to be negotiated in the coming days, The Irish Times reports.

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A British source said London will wait to see what conditions are attached to any extension of the grace period.

An early response to the UK's request would be seen as an “encouraging signal”.

Currently, the EU has no provision for unfrozen meats to be imported into the Single Market from countries that do not follow its rules. This is because fresh meat is a high-risk item to animal and human health.

Northern Ireland remains in line with EU standards under the Protocol, however, goods arriving from Britain must be checked.

One of the conditions for Britain to be permitted to export fresh meat to the North will be that the UK will have to follow EU rules on agriculture for the duration.

Another condition will be that the extension is only allowed for both sides to come to a permanent solution.

One EU proposal is that the UK follows a formal agreement whereby Britain aligns on plant and animal rules, which would make 80 per cent of the checks currently required in Northern Ireland obsolete.

Brexit goals

However, London has ruled this out as against the goals of Brexit.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis has told MPs he is confident Britain and the EU can agree to changes to the operation of the protocol.

Mr Lewis told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that almost every business group he has consulted has issues with the protocol.

“We have been very clear that the current position of the protocol is not sustainable and we need to rectify that and I am optimistic and confident we will get that done in the time ahead,” he said.

“I think it is reasonable for anyone to take the view that there will be changes, there has to be.”

 

 

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