Potential changes to NI Protocol on cold meat, says EU Commission VP
European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic has announced that the EU is preparing to present “far-reaching proposals” that could “dramatically” reduce the level of checks on goods.
According to The Independent, Sefcovic is scheduled to table four papers on Wednesday 13th October to adjust the Northern Ireland Protocol. Measures included within the papers are reported to address the availability of UK-approved medicines and inspections on meat, diary and plant products.
A “national identity” clause is also reported to be discussed by the Commission. This exemption, if approved, would allow cold meats that wouldn’t normally be permitted to enter the EU single market to be given similar levels of restrictions due to “identity purposes”. This, in turn, could allow Northern Ireland access to British meats; thereby potentially ending the “sausage wars.”
According to The Evening Standard, Brexit minister Lord Frost is also expected to speak about the changes to the protocol as part of his upcoming speech in Portugal on Tuesday 12th October. The peer is expected to use his speech to call for “significant” changes to the post-Brexit agreement, which is reported to cover the role of the European Court of Justice.
A government source has stated that Frost is expected to tell the diplomatic community that the EU now “needs to show ambition and willingness to tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol head on.” They added: “The commission have been too quick to dismiss governance as a side issue. The reality is the opposite.
“The role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland and the consequent inability of the UK government to implement the very sensitive arrangements in the protocol in a reasonable way has created a deep imbalance in the way the protocol operates.
“Without new arrangements in this area, the protocol will never have the support it needs to survive.”