Wednesday 23 June 2021 1:32 pm

UK and EU set for truce in Northern Ireland sausage ban row

The EU is reportedly set to accept a three-month extension to the ban on sausages from Great Britain being shipped to Northern Ireland.

The extension will ease tensions after Boris Johnson threatened to ignore the chilled meats ban, which the EU says would have sparked a trade war.

Irish broadcaster RTE reports that EU nations have informally agreed to delay the ban until September.

The UK and EU have been negotiating for months over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which sees checks on some goods crossing the Irish Sea.

This is because Northern Ireland still follows EU customs union and single market rules, unlike the rest of the UK, in order to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

One of the key issues being discussed in recent weeks was the EU’s upcoming ban of chilled meats, like sausages and minced beef, crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Johnson had previously threatened to flout this ban and unilaterally trigger Article 16, which would suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol and severely inflame tensions.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis today said the amount of checks being imposed in Northern Ireland by the EU were excessive and “causing issues for businesses and consumers and citizens in Northern Ireland”.

“We are very clear that the current position of the protocol is not sustainable, it is causing issues for businesses and consumers and citizens in Northern Ireland and we need to rectify that,” he said.

UK-EU minister Lord David Frost confirmed yesterday that there had been movement on chilled meats, with a delay to the ban until September touted.

Frost also called for Brussels to dial down the heated stand-off.

“Sometimes it feels like the resort to threats [by the EU] is a bit quick and we don’t make threats in quite the same way as I think some players in the EU do and I think if we can dial that down a bit that would help,” he said.

European commissioner for financial services Mairead McGuinness yesterday said the UK-EU relationship must be “built on trust”.

 “We are waiting for the UK to choose between the two paths Maros Sefcovic described last week,” she said.

“The first is deciding to work together with the EU by abiding by its obligations and engaging in good faith.

“The second path is if the UK continues to act on a unilateral basis. We hope the UK will choose the first, more appropriate and sustainable paths.”