Johnson urged to ‘plunge’ sword into Northern Ireland protocol
An insider declared the “sausage wars over” after Lord Frost and the EU’s Maroš Šefčovič reached an agreement on once again delaying the introduction of customs checks.It means fears of difficulties to ship pigs in blankets and other festive favourites to Northern Ireland around Christmas have likely been avoided.
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Brexit backlash: Remainer historian silenced over UK leaving EU Under the terms of the Protocol, agreed as part of the 2019 Brexit withdrawal agreement, chilled meats are banned from being shipped from Britain to Northern Ireland.
When the protocol came into force at the start of this year, a six month grace period was put in place on the introduction of the ban on chilled meats.
In June, Britain demanded a delay to the implementation of the bureaucratic checks – warning it would lead to supply shortages in Northern Ireland.
Lord Frost argued the UK’s internal market was being hampered by the Protocol and threatened to take unilateral action to suspend customs checks.
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Lord Frost has agreed a deal with the EU to extend the grace periods (Image: PA) Brussels agreed to a request for a three-month delay to allow time for a more permanent solution to be found.
But with less than four weeks until the end of this period, no agreement has been reached.
In a written statement to Parliament, Lord Frost said: “To provide space for potential further discussions, and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the Government will continue to operate the Protocol on the current basis.
“This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force.
“Operational and other guidance will be updated to reflect this approach.
“We will ensure that reasonable notice is provided in the event that these arrangements were to change, to enable businesses and citizens to prepare.”
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Marcos Sefcovic has agreed to a further delay to the customs checks (Image: PA)
The EU has agreed to holding more talks with the UK on the Protocol (Image: PA) In July, Lord Frost unveiled UK proposals to reform the Protocol to make it more acceptable in the long run.
These included removing customs checks and instead introducing soft-touch checks on business supply chains.
The proposals would also ensure the EU Court of Justice has no role in overseeing the Protocol’s implementation.
The EU immediately rejected the suggestions and said the Protocol was not up for renegotiation.
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Leo Varadkar said he wanted to make the Protocol succeed (Image: PA) However, it agreed to hold talks with the UK about improving the implementation of the Brexit deal.
Speaking this morning, Irish trade minister, Leo Varadkar, said the EU’s position on the need for the full implementation of the Protocol had not changed but it was open to more negotiations.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We do think that we need to create some space for further talks and further negotiations about how we can make the protocol work.
“I was in Northern Ireland last week and had a good chance to talk to the business community there.”
Northern Ireland Protocol ‘sausage wars’ explained (Image: EXPRESS) Trending He added: “There are a lot of benefits from the protocol, north-south trade has increased a lot in both directions.
“It has strengthened the Northern Ireland economy and they are reporting record levels of interest in people investing in Northern Ireland because they have this unique access both to the British market and the European single market.
“But it is also causing real problems, disruptions around some goods getting into Northern Ireland.
“There has been some additional costs and bureaucracy and that is more likely to get worse than better if we don’t negotiate some solutions.”
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