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EU 'demands' separate Brexit deal for Northern Ireland and protections for Parma ham

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

The European Union wants a separate Brexit deal for Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK in a bid to stave off increased tensions in the region, a new report has said.

Northern Irish people will continue to be able to go to work or school on either side of the border according to proposal papers seen by the BBC.

It comes as a tranche of other EU negotiating papers were leaked to the Guardian, setting out demands - among others - for “continued protection” of special foods like Parma ham.

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has reportedly said “a lot more substantial work” is needed on the issue of the Irish border and has demanded UK officials come up with more ideas.

The document seen by the BBC contains plans to retain co-operation between Ireland and Northern Ireland on health, education and transport - among other areas.

Mr Barnier will set out his thoughts in a position paper and press conference later today.

Brussels is also keen to ensure more than 3,300 food and drink products do not face competition from British knock-offs after Brexit, the Guardian says.

It wants specific legislation to protect items such as Parma ham, feta cheese, French burgundy and Spanish Cava, according to the leaked papers.

It also wants the European Court of Justice to oversee any goods transit issues on Brexit day and the protection of EU classified documents by EU data laws, among other things.

The leaked demands come as MPs prepare for a key debate on the Government's flagship Brexit legislation, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - also dubbed the Repeal Bill.

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