The European Union and the United Kingdom argue over sausages

The European Union and the United Kingdom argue over sausages
The European Union and the United Kingdom argue over sausages

In recent days, the European Union and the United Kingdom have been discussing mainly sausages. According to the Brexit agreements, in fact, starting from June 30, Great Britain (understood as the island of England, Scotland and Wales) will no longer be able to export loads of refrigerated meat to Northern Ireland: a ban that applies to everyone the countries that are part of the European Union, with occasional and very limited exceptions, and which also concerns Northern Ireland because although it is part of the United Kingdom it has remained in the single market and in the European customs union.

The British government insists that British chilled meat does not pose a real health hazard to Europeans, while the European Union notes that the UK knew very well what it was up against when it signed the Brexit deals, which allowed it to exit. definitively from the European Union on January 1, 2021.

On Wednesday morning, the European and British delegations met in London to try to resolve the issue of sausages and other minor inconveniences that could occur in the United Kingdom starting from 1 July, when some rules foreseen by the Brexit agreements will come into force. After the meeting, the British delegation made it known that there had been “progress” in some “limited issues”, such as the free movement of guide dogs for the blind between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but not on the issue of chilled meat. . “They still haven’t given us a satisfactory explanation of what the problem is,” he told a BBC News the British Secretary of the Environment, George Eustice.

In reality, issues like this are the direct consequence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to leave Northern Ireland within the single market and the European customs union, with the aim of not building a new border between Ireland. , which is part of the European Union, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

At the time of the compromise, about a year and a half ago, the decision was celebrated in British newspapers with great praise for Johnson. At the end of 2020, among other things, the United Kingdom had reiterated in an official document its intention to respect the agreements under which, starting from 1 July, it would no longer be able to import processed and chilled meat within the Northern Ireland.

– Read also: Northern Irish unionists are no longer happy with a piece of the Brexit deal

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, head of the European negotiators for the consequences of Brexit, said the European Union offered temporary solutions to the chilled meat issue, but that British negotiators refused to agree to abide by European standards. quality and safety of meat. Šefčovič added that at the moment it is difficult for the European Union to trust the United Kingdom, which in these six months has done little to adapt to the new rules in force since 1 July (perhaps relying on the fact that the European Union would have softened their positions).

It is not clear how the sausage dispute will end. The Guardian writes that the Irish government and the European institutions hope that during the G7 that begins on Friday 11 June, US President Joe Biden will be able to pressure Johnson to find a compromise.

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