A row between London and the EU over the rules on sending sausages and chicken nuggets to Northern Ireland has deepened ahead of a crunch meeting today. Environment Secretary, George Eustice, says a ban would be “bonkers”.
Lord Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator with the EU said, “Further threats of legal action and trade retaliation from the EU won’t make life any easier for the shopper in Strabane who can’t buy their favourite product. Nor will it benefit the small business in Ballymena struggling to source produce from their supplier in Birmingham.”
The EU insists it has the power to impose quotas on British exports if London continues to make unilateral decisions about how the Northern Ireland protocol is implemented.
But Lord Frost has called on the EU to find “common sense solutions”.
Lord Frost is due to meet the European Commission’s negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, on June 8 for their first face-to-face summit since tensions between the UK and EU rose.
“When I meet Maroš Šefčovič later today my message will be clear: time is short and practical solutions are needed now to make the Protocol work,” he said.
“Our overriding shared priority must be to protect the Belfast Agreement and the peace process. I look to the EU to show flexibility and engage with our proposals so that we can find solutions that enjoy the confidence of all communities,” he added.
For his part, Šefčovič said the EU would act “swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations” if the UK decided to delay checks on chilled meats exports on June 30.
Former French European affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau, who is now an MEP, told BBC Radio 4 the EU could place tariffs and quotas on British exports.
“We don’t want to reach that. But we are warning – you signed an agreement, you have to implement it, otherwise there are measures we can take that will protect our single market. The international reputation of the UK is at stake,” she said.
Environment secretary, George Eustice, said a ban on sending British sausages and chicken nuggets sent to Northern Ireland would be “bonkers”.
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