London, Jun 9 (EFE).- Tensions sizzled in a row dubbed the ‘sausage war’ by British media Wednesday after the United Kingdom and the European Union failed to agree on solutions to ease post-Brexit trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The standoff between the EU and the UK revolves around checks on chilled meats being shipped between Great Britain and Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea. Ironically, it involves almost no sausages.
The ‘war’ on bangers intensified Wednesday when the UK threatened to unilaterally extend a grace period on checks on goods transported into Northern Ireland from Britain.
An initial grace period was supposed to end in March, but Britain decided to extend it to June 30 without EU consent, pressured by pro-UK sectors of Northern Irish society.
The EU fears that the move could see UK products freely enter the single market via the soft border between Northern Ireland, which is a UK territory, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member.
Fearful of British produce flooding into the single market without being checked against EU standards, Brussels said it could advance legal action that would involve tariffs and quotas.
The UK claims the EU is being too strict and adopting a “purist” approach to meat regulations by threatening to completely block the import of Britain’s staple sausages to Northern Ireland.
Preserving peace in Northern Ireland without letting the UK use the 500 kilometers border as a back door to the EU single market has been one of the trickiest and most disputed issues of the Brexit deal.
Seamless travel across the Irish border is enshrined by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that put an end to decades of brutal sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. EFE