EU extends grace period for British meat sales in NI
The European Union has formally postponed a ban on British chilled meat products being sold in Northern Ireland.
Originally due to be enforced from 1st July, the ban is a consequence of the Northern Ireland Protocol that was negotiated along with the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
The UK Government requested that the initial six-month grace period be extended until the end of September.
Imports of chilled meat products, such as fresh sausages, from non-member states are not permitted by the EU. As Northern Ireland essentially remains in the EU single market for goods and is subject to EU customs checks at ports, a grace period was granted to give NI supermarkets time to set up new supply chains.
Cabinet minister Lord Frost said: “We are pleased we have been able to agree a sensible extension on chilled meats moving from Great 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.
“This is a positive first step but we still need to agree a permanent solution – Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and its consumers should be able to enjoy products they have bought from Great Britain for years.
“This is a very clear sign that the Protocol has to be operated in a pragmatic and proportionate way. The chilled meats issue is only one of a very large number of problems with the way the Protocol is currently operating, and solutions need to be found with the EU to ensure it delivers on its original aims: to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, safeguard Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, and protect the EU’s single market for goods. We look to work energetically with the EU to do so.”