EU To Accept UK Request To Delay "Sausage War" Cliff Edge
The European Union is set to accept the UK government's request to extend the grace period for chilled meats moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice President, today secured the informal backing of EU member states to approve the UK request submitted last week, PoliticsHome understands.
The bloc is now in the process of ironing out the conditions for accepting the request, with Brussels adamant that any time created by an extension should be used to find long-term solutions for trade across the Irish Sea.
The UK and EU are under intense pressure to agree simplifications for the Northern Ireland Protocol amid significant disruption to trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, particularly for food exports.
A recent UK-EU row dubbed the "sausage war" has centred on EU regulations forbidding chilled meats including sausages, mince and pies from entering its markets from third countries.Northern Ireland has followed EU regulations since 1 January as part of the Protocol.
However, the UK and EU agreed a grace period allowing the trade of chilled meats from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to continue until June 31.
The government last week formally asked the EU to delay this cliff-edge by a further three months to stop chilled meats disappearing from Northern Irish shelves overnight.
A government source said extending the grace period until 30 September would give both sides "breathing space" to negotiate solutions for the Protocol after recent talks failed to produce a breakthrough.
There is also shared concern that further disruption to trade in Northern Ireland will exacerbate unionist tensions ahead of the peak marching season in the province early next month.
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