Brexit ‘Sausage War’ Moves Closer to Resolution

European governments have agreed in principle to extend the grace period for British firms selling chilled meats to Northern Ireland, bringing the so-called “sausage war” Brexit dispute a step closer to resolution.

The European Commission’s vice president Maros Sefcovic has advised diplomats from the bloc’s 27 member states to agree to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request for extra time to work on the fraught question of trade rules for Northern Ireland, according to officials familiar with the talks.

A formal deal has not yet been reached and the U.K. said talks are “ongoing.” Under current arrangements, the sale of chilled meats and fresh sausages into Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. is due to be banned when the grace period expires at the end of the month.

The development follows an earlier report by Bloomberg News that officials on both sides were growing increasingly confident a truce would be struck and that the grace period would be extended.

It’s not clear yet whether any extension would be for three months, as the U.K. has requested, or for six. Some European officials believe a longer time-frame is needed to reach a lasting solution, while others want the U.K. to spell out clearly how it would use the extra time.

On Wednesday, Johnson’s spokesman Max Blain said talks with the EU are continuing and the U.K. wants to find an answer before the current grace period expires on June 30.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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