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Ban on sale of chilled meats to Northern Ireland to be delayed again

Ban on sale of chilled meats to Northern Ireland to be delayed again
New checks and red tape for trade across the Irish Sea – including a ban on the sale of chilled meats – will be delayed again, under an expected deal between the UK and EU.

New checks and red tape for trade across the Irish Sea – including a ban on the sale of chilled meats – will be delayed again, under an expected deal between the UK and EU.

The government is poised to announce further extensions to post-Brexi ‘grace periods’ until at least the end of the year, possibly as early as today.

A government source said Brussels had agreed to pushing back implementation of the new rules from the start of October – for the third time – saying: “So sausage wars are on hold.”

But the stopgap deal will only kick the can down the road and does not mean the EU is ready to freeze the Northern Ireland Protocol and end oversight by EU courts, as the UK has demanded.

The Irish government again insisted there is “no appetite” in EU capitals to rewrite the agreement, arguing solutions “can be found within the existing agreement”.

The further delay will avert the immediate threat of checks on goods of animal origin entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the significant new paperwork involved.

Most controversy surrounded the ban on chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea – the so-called ‘sausage wars’ – which is also set to come into force from next month.

The latest delay is likely to require the UK to abide by Brussels’ food standards rules, but ministers insist that does not amount to the “dynamic alignment” it opposes.

The source declined to say whether the grace periods would be extended for as long as six months, but said it would push back the new rules “quite far”.

The two sides remain far apart, with the UK demanding a “permanent solution” to the crisis – while the EU insists the delays must be used to arrange for retailers to obtain meats from the Republic of Ireland.

A July “command paper” from the UK ramped up tensions further, demanding the grace periods become permanent and a halt to EU legal action for non-implementation of the Protocol.

David Frost, the Brexit minister, also insisted the Protocol “must no longer be policed by EU institutions and courts of justice” – the bedrock of the 2019 deal signed by Boris Johnson

The grace periods were extended in both March and June, the second time with the agreement of Brussels, but only for three months.

Leo Varadkar, the Irish deputy prime minister, acknowledged the Protocol was causing “real disruptions”, which the European Commission wanted to address.

But he told the BBC: “We don’t really see the case for renegotiating it so soon, we think most of the solutions can be found within the existing agreement.

The Protocol requires all goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to follow EU regulations, creating a trade border in the Irish Sea.