Brexit: Expert says NI protocol feud may lead to meat shortages
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A ‘sausage war’ has broken out as concerns rise over the possibility of meat shortages if the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol is not resolved. Speaking to LBC, Belfast LIVE reporter Brendan Hughes explained how a grace period outlined in the Protocol for chilled meats, such as sausages, is due to end at the end of the month meaning if no agreement has been struck between the UK and EU leaders, July 1st could see sausages and other chilled goods prohibited from moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland without onerous checks. His comments come as Boris Johnson launched an attack on the EU over the chaos.
Mr Hughes said: “It might seem a bit ridiculous but I suppose that is what we are reduced to at the moment.
“As part of that deal, there have been some grace periods put in place to try and allow these checks to be phased in gradually.
“And one of the grace periods that was introduced was around chilled meats.
“So that would obviously include things like sausages.”
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But he went on to warn how “that is due to end at the end of this month and by the first of July.”
He stressed how “it is expected that if this grace period is not extended in some way” that would mean products like sausages “would be prohibited from Great Britain to Northern Ireland without some sort of onerous checks.”
Mr Hughes said: “So that is what these talks are currently coming down to whether or not they can come up with some solution or some sort of agreement to prevent those onerous checks at the border come next month.”
His comments come as on Tuesday the Prime Minister’s spokesman claimed solutions were urgently needed in order to fix issues with the Protocol.
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The spokesman took aim at the European Union’s stance over the exports of chilled meats from the UK to Northern Ireland.
They called on the EU to “show common sense” and “pragmatism”.
The spokesman said: “There is no case whatsoever for preventing chilled meats from being sold in Northern Ireland.
“Any ban would be contrary to the aims of the Protocol and the interests of the people of Northern Ireland.”
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They stressed: “We think an urgent solution needs to be found – the Protocol was a compromise.
“We didn’t expect the EU to take a purist approach when implementing it.”
As part of the UK and EU’s Brexit trade deal, the Northern Ireland Protocol means European checks and trade rules apply to goods entering the province from Britain.
Northern Ireland also remains part of the EU’s single market under the Protocol, which avoided the creation of a land border in Ireland.
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