Sausage war truce as EU concedes grace period

The EU has avoided a fresh “sausage war” by indefinitely extending the grace period before Northern Ireland’s Brexit arrangements come into force.

Brexit minister Lord Frost confirmed that new border checks, which would have banned chilled meats from the province under the Northern Ireland Protocol, will be paused.

The extension means the flow of meat, fish and dairy from mainland Britain will stay unchanged for the foreseeable future.

It has also averted another standoff with the EU over the sale of British sausages and mincemeat in Northern Ireland.

READ MORE: M&S to buy more EU food after Northern Ireland border chaos

In a statement, Frost said the pause would provide “certainty and stability” to businesses, which had warned of trade disruption if the grace period ended.

Two months ago, Marks & Spencer chairman Archie Norman claimed the supermarket had been forced to slash its Christmas range over border check fears.

Although the European Commission has not formally extended the grace period, sources told The Telegraph that it will not pursue legal action when it expires.

Brussels has already paused a legal challenge over the UK’s extension of the grace period in March.

It is the third time the UK has extended the protocol’s grace period, which requires Northern Ireland to follow EU customs regulations. 

The extension has left Whitehall officials optimistic that a revised Brexit arrangement for the province is now possible.

Frost added that the two sides would continue talks “to determine whether a constructive process can be established for discussing and addressing the issues identified with the protocol”.

However, the Commission insisted on Monday night it would not renegotiate the Protocol.

While some businesses have called on the government to solve the issue by following EU standards for products sent to Northern Ireland, it has consistently refused this/

In November 2020, Boris Johnson declared nothing could stop “the Great British sausage from making it to Belfast”.

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