Most Checks On British Goods In Northern Ireland Could Be Scrapped

Maros Sefcovic, EU Commission vice-president, unveiled proposals on Wednesday (Pictures: Reuters/Getty)

The EU has hypothesizedv scrapping 80% of checks on food entering Northern Ireland and 50% of checks on manufactured goods.

It hopes the removal of red tape could open up the ‘home stretch’ to solving the bitter row over the Northern Ireland protocol.

But it appears far from certain that the government will be satisfied, with Brexit minister Lord Frost having demanded the complete protocol is rewritten.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said: ‘We have explored every possible angle of the protocol and, at times, went beyond current EU law.

‘We continue to stand united behind Northern Ireland while at the same time remaining determined to protect our internal market.

‘Now I invite the UK Government to include with us earnestly and intensively on all our proposals.

‘With them I’m convinced we could be in the home stretch when it comes to the protocol.’

The EU proposes a ‘trusted trader list’ which exempts approved companies from checks (Picture: Reuters)

His ‘different form’ to the protocol would end the need for physical checks on most food products arriving from Great Britain.

More companies would be additional to a trusted trader list which exempts them from customs tariffs.

Medicines would be able to move freely from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.

It also removes the prospect of certain British produce, including Cumberland sausages, being banned from export to the vicinity.

Brexit minister Lord Frost (Picture: PA)
A port worker checks paperwork from a lorry driver before allowing him to board a ferry bound for mainland UK (Picture: Reuters)

Mr Sefcovic and Lord Frost are set to meet on Friday to discuss the EU’s new plan.

The protocol, agreed in 2019, effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European Union’s single market for goods to prevent a hard border with Ireland by placing a trade obstacle in the Irish Sea.

The complete terms of the deal has in addition to be applied due to the continuation of a series of grace periods that the UK has unilaterally extended on an indefinite basis.

Concerns linger that chilled meat products, including burgers and sausages, will no longer be exportable from to Northern Ireland when it kicks in.

A government spokesperson said the latest EU proposals were being studied and that ministers ‘will of course look at them seriously and constructively.

‘The next step should be intensive talks on both our sets of proposals, rapidly conducted, to determine whether there is shared ground to find a solution.

‘meaningful changes which tackle the basic issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a lasting settlement which commands sustain in Northern Ireland.’

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