U.K. Is Set to Agree EU ‘Sausage War’ Truce, Johnson’s Office Says

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The U.K. expects to reach an agreement with the European Union on extending a grace period for post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland, a move that would reduce tensions between the two sides.

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 a transition period to let companies adapt expires at the end of June.

“We expect to agree an extension to the chilled meats grace period on terms that are acceptable to the U.K.,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, said on a call with reporters on Tuesday.

Bloomberg reported last week that officials on both sides were optimistic a truce in what British media have called the Brexit “sausage wars” will be reached. European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said Monday he was “confident” there would be a solution.

The U.K. asked for a three-month extension to the grace period and a person familiar with the EU’s position said the request would be granted.

The prospect of a sausage ban was due to the terms of the Brexit divorce treaty, which saw Northern Ireland -- unlike the rest of the U.K. -- remain under the EU’s customs and single market rules to avoid creating a visible border with the Irish Republic. The EU doesn’t allow chilled meats and fresh sausages into its single market for health and safety reasons.

An extension to the grace period would help to ease tensions between the two sides after a testy six-month-period in which the EU has brought legal action against the U.K. for unilaterally changing the terms of their post-Brexit accord. They have also clashed over issues including fishing rights, market access for finance and the status of diplomats.

The EU is also due to announce concessions to allow the free-flow of medicines into Northern Ireland, plus provisions for guide dogs and waiving the need for British motorists to show an insurance green card when driving in the EU, according to a person familiar with the matter.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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