UK calls for ‘common sense’ solution to Brexit sausage war with Brussels

Brexit Minister Lord Frost urged the EU to show “pragmatism and common sense” as time is running out to end the dispute over the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in Northern Ireland.

Ahead of talks in London today, the former UK Brexit negotiator said threats of trade wars and lawsuits from Brussels would not help people and businesses in Northern Ireland struggling with “the devastating impact “of the agreement on the ground.

His call came after European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said the EU would act “swiftly, firmly and decisively” if the UK tried to reverse its obligations under Ireland’s Protocol of the North in the agreement.

Britain is reportedly ready to act unilaterally to delay checks on chilled meats such as sausages and chicken nuggets from Great Britain from Northern Ireland when the current ‘grace period’ expires at the end of June .

In a statement ahead of his meeting with Mr Sefcovic, Lord Frost said time was running out to find the “practical solutions” needed to allow the protocol to work as intended.

He said the “top priority” for both sides must be to preserve the peace process in Northern Ireland and called on the EU to show the “flexibility” needed to find a solution that “enjoys confidence. of all communities “.

Although he agreed that the deal is now causing so many problems, he said: “Companies in Britain choose not to sell their products in Northern Ireland due to heavy paperwork drug makers threaten. cutting back on vital supplies and chilled meats from UK farmers destined for the Northern Irish market risks being banned altogether.
“Further threats of legal action and trade retaliation from the EU will not make life easier for Strabane buyers who cannot purchase their favorite product. It will also not benefit the small business in Ballymena which is struggling to source from its supplier in Birmingham.

“What is needed is pragmatism and common sense solutions to solve the problems as they are before us. This work is important. And it is more and more urgent.

“Only by making substantial progress across the set of challenges can we show the people of Northern Ireland that the Protocol can work in a pragmatic, proportionate and sustainable way – as it has always been intended.”

Earlier, Downing Street insisted there could be no justification for stopping the sale of chilled meats from the rest of the UK in stores across Northern Ireland, while Environment Secretary George Eustice said the suggestion was “bonkers”.

It came after Mr Sefcovic raised the prospect of a trade war – with Brussels imposing tariffs and quotas on UK exports – if the UK fails to meet its international obligations under the protocol.

The deal, intended to avoid a hard border with the Republic, means NI remains in the EU’s single market, which in turn means checks on some goods from Britain.

But Mr Sefcovic said there were “many fundamental flaws” in its implementation by the UK.
He said that should Britain take further unilateral steps, the EU “will not hesitate to react swiftly, firmly and decisively to ensure that the UK respects its obligations under international law”.

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