UK, EU extend grace period for chilled meats into N.Ireland

Insight Online News

London, July 1 : The UK and the European Union (EU) have agreed to extend the grace period for another three months for chilled meat products coming from Britain to Northern Ireland.

The temporary arrangement was announced just hours before exemption on customs checks expired on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The extension means that Northern Ireland consumers will be able to buy chilled meat products from Britain, and allows for further discussions to continue on a permanent solution, a statement from the UK government said.

“We are pleased we have been able to agree a sensible extension on chilled meats moving from Britain to Northern Ireland — one that does not require rules in the rest of the UK to align with future changes in EU agrifood rules,” the British Brexit minister, David Frost, said.

Frost called it “a positive first step”, but both sides still need to agree a permanent solution.

Recognising chilled meats issue is only one of a very large number of problems with the way the Northern Ireland Protocol is currently operating, Frost said solutions need to be found with the EU to ensure it delivers on its original aims, to protect the Good Friday Agreement, safeguard Northern Ireland’s place in Britain, and protect the the bloc’s single market for goods.

Earlier on Wednesday, a high court in Belfast ruled the Northern Ireland Protocol is lawful after a group of unionist politicians had challenged the protocol in judicial review proceedings.

Northern Ireland is at the centre of the post-Brexit trade dispute with the EU.

As part of the Brexit deal, the Protocol stipulates Northern Ireland remains in the EU single market and customs union to avoid a hard border between the region and the Republic of Ireland.

However, this leads to a new “regulatory” border between Britain and Northern Ireland, which exacerbates the conflict between pro-Britain and pro-independence groups in Northern Ireland.

Protests and riots raged for days in April in Northern Ireland.

IANS / AGENCY

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