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World

UK urges EU 'flexibility' for post-Brexit Northern Ireland trade

  • The Telegraph said the threat raised the spectre of a "sausage trade war" if Northern Irish shops were banned from selling British meat produce.
09 Jun 2021

LONDON: Britain and the European Union hold key talks on Wednesday about implementing the Brexit deal, with London urging "flexibility" from Brussels over trading arrangements in Northern Ireland blamed for sparking violence.

The EU on Tuesday warned the United Kingdom against further unilateral actions that override the so-called protocol of the divorce agreement covering the province, having already accused London of illegally breaking it.

Brexit minister David Frost will co-chair Wednesday's London meeting, which will cover issues including fishing, trade facilitation and law enforcement.

But the key focus of the Partnership Council and Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, which supervises the operation of the divorce deal at a political level, will be Northern Ireland.

"I hope this will be a productive forum where we can address shared challenges by working together in the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation," Frost said late Tuesday.

"First among these challenges is the damaging impact the Protocol is having on the ground in Northern Ireland," he added.

"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."

The EU has already launched legal proceedings against the UK after it delayed custom controls on some goods arriving in Northern Ireland from mainland Britain -- England, Scotland and Wales.

Frost will meet EU vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who on Tuesday wrote in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former newspaper the Daily Telegraph that Brussels would retaliate if Britain again extended a grace period on checks on chilled meats.

The Telegraph said the threat raised the spectre of a "sausage trade war" if Northern Irish shops were banned from selling British meat produce.

The commission could retaliate with targeted tariffs, and it has the support of the United States, which could withhold a trade deal with London over the issue, according to an EU source.