Extension to Northern Ireland Protocol grace period for chilled meats agreed

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Chilled meats from Great Britain, such as sausages, which would otherwise be prohibited in Northern Ireland, will continue to move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland after the UK and the EU agreed to extend the grace period allowing this until 30 September.

The extension means that Northern Ireland consumers will be able to buy chilled meat products from Great Britain, and allows for further discussions to continue on a permanent solution.

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.

The Government proposed to the EU that it would be sensible to extend the chilled meats grace period, on certain conditions, and detailed discussions have followed between the Government and the Commission. Crucially, the agreement does not require the rest of the UK to align with any changes in EU agrifood rules during the grace period – there is no dynamic alignment.

Otherwise, 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.

The Protocol is continuing to cause disruption in a number of areas beyond just chilled meats. The UK government has submitted a dozen papers to the Commission on various issues, including goods movements and medicines and the need to resolve these issues is as pressing as ever.

The Government say it is working through the Joint Committee on longer term sustainable solutions to these issues recognising that businesses and people in Northern Ireland deserve clarity and certainty on the way forward.

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