Northern Ireland: sausage war truce agreed

London, UK: Chilled meats will be allowed to continue being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland until September 30 under a deal agreed between the EU and UK government hours before prohibition would happen.

But the deal has been slated by the Cold Chain Federation. It chief executive, Shane Brennan said: “Three more months of the same standoff is not going to boost trader confidence or make anyone’s lives genuinely easier.  
“This further delay in finding a lasting solution shows just how far the people trying to carry on cross-border business are from being a priority concern for UK and EU negotiators.
“Many GB food businesses have already made the decision to stop supplying into NI, and many others have restructured their supply chains. Northern Ireland is a market that most small English, Welsh and Scottish food producers can’t afford to serve, and today’s announcements won’t change that.   
“Nothing in these words hints at genuine progress towards a workable permanent solution to the barriers to trade between GB and NI. The EU is essentially restating its long held position that this trade should be as difficult as possible, and the UK that there are some magical IT fixes that will make the problems go away. It’s depressing.”

A potential prohibition on chilled meats is one result of Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol, which has created a series of economic barriers on Irish Sea trade. Shipments of chilled meats from third countries into the single market are banned – a prohibition which will eventually cover the rest of the UK unless a lasting solution is found.

The products from Great Britain will only be sold in supermarkets, will be accompanied by official certificates and will bear a label making clear they are for sale only in the UK – meaning they cannot be allowed to cross into Ireland and the EU’s single market.

Under the deal, the United Kingdom will endeavour to introduce product-level labelling “as soon as is practicable”. Cabinet minister Lord Frost said: “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.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said the EU was “accommodating” the UK’s request to extend the grace period but was “not issuing a blank cheque”.

“This solution is of a temporary nature, in which strong conditions are attached,” he said.

“This extension will allow stakeholders, and especially supermarkets in Northern Ireland, to continue to adapt their supply chains to the post-Brexit situation – something yet to be completed.

The UK government said that the arrangements for the extension are largely the same as those agreed in December. The UK will aim to introduce product-level labelling as soon as practicable but businesses will be given time and support to put the arrangements in place.
Northern Ireland Protocol lawful High Court judge rules
The Northern Ireland Protocol is lawful, a High Court judge in Belfast has ruled. A group of unionist politicians, including Arlene Foster and Lord Trimble, had challenged the protocol in judicial review proceedings. They claimed it was unlawful because it conflicts with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the Acts of Union. But Justice Colton rejected their challenge on all grounds on Wednesday afternoon. He found that the Withdrawal Agreement Act, which includes the protocol, does conflict with the 1800 Acts of Union in respect of free trade between Britain and Northern Ireland. However, he added that the relevant parts of the Acts of Union are “impliedly repealed” by the Withdrawal Agreement Act. That means that the more recent legislation automatically overrides the older laws. He said the Acts of Union could not be used to override the “clear specific will of Parliament”. Normally, a constitutional law, like the Acts of Union, can only be expressly repealed, but they can be impliedly by another constitutional law.


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