Brexit: Jeremy Vine says EU is looking to 'waterboard' UK
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Both sides are set to announce an extension to the grace period allowing the movement of sausages and other chilled meats across the Irish Sea. The agreement is expected to be finalised just hours before the Brussels-mandated ban on British-made bangers being sold in Northern Ireland would come into force. EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic is scheduled to address the media, while the UK is also expected to issue its own statement on the matter.
British and EU officials have agreed on a three-month ceasefire pact to end the sausage wars until the end of September.
The row over the sale of burgers and sausages has plunged cross-Channel relations to a new low and sparked Unionists protests.
Downing Street had threatened to unilaterally extend the grace period, something Brussels warned would have triggered retaliatory action from the EU.
The blockade on chilled meats is just one of the contentious elements of the Brexit deal’s Northern Ireland Protocol.
Unionists are furious that it has driven a series of economic and regulatory barriers between the region and the rest of the UK.
To keep the Irish border open, the area effectively remains part of the EU’s single market and checks are now made on some products arriving from the rest of the UK.
Mr Sefcovic, the EU’s chief negotiator on the issue, has been keen to de-escalate recent tensions.
He even warned the bloc’s member states that they risk plunging Northern Ireland into chaos if they are not more pragmatic with their hardline interpretation of the post-Brexit border fix.
Earlier this week, Mr Sefcovic said he was “confident” a solution could be found before the scheduled ban on sausage shipments came into force.
He told a Northern Ireland Assembly committee on Monday that he was confident an extension would be granted “that will address both sides’ needs and concerns”.
But Slovak diplomat continued to push a controversial plan for Britain to align to the EU’s food health and safety rules in order to remove controls in the Irish Sea.
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A senior EU source said Brussels would today confirm a “package” of measures designed to give time to finding solutions in the row over the implementation of the protocol.
The insider said: “There needs to be some cooling down on all sides.
“There has been some aggressive political rhetoric which is not helpful for building a future relationship between friends.
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“A bit of time is needed for everyone to step back and try to resolve the issues in a constructive manner.
“We will present a package of measures to extend the grace period until September which we expect will be acceptable to the UK.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said yesterday: “We expect to agree an extension to the chilled meats grace period soon on terms that are acceptable to the UK and will announce further details in the usual way.”
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