Fearing the wurst! EU plots to ban British sausages from Europe – including Northern Ireland – if a post-Brexit trade deal isn’t secured by January 1
- Bratwurst, burgers and mince are among the products that could be banned
- Talks are ongoing to secure a post-Brexit trade deal said to be 95% complete
- A few key issues have still to be hammered out before the Brexit transition period ends on January 1
- UK has threatened a retaliatory embargo if the unfrozen meat ban materialises
The UK and EU are battling over bratwurst, burgers and other meat products as a potential trade ban looms ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.
Last-minute talks are underway to avoid a two-way embargo on uncooked prepared meat products which EU regulations state cannot be imported into the bloc unless frozen to minus 18C.
If an agreement is not reached, Irish sausages and German bratwurst could disappear from the shelves of British supermarkets early next year.
Under current rules such products, as well as others including mince, would not be allowed to enter Northern Ireland from Great Britain from January 1.
The UK and EU are battling over bratwurst, burgers and other meat products as a potential trade ban looms ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 [Stock photo]
However the UK has warned it could introduce a reciprocal ban on Irish exports to the British mainland if a resolution is not reached, The Times reported.
Britain will be treated as a non-EU country after the end of this year as per the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement but Northern Ireland will maintain EU food safety rules in order to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
Tens of millions of pounds worth of meat will be threatened and supply chains disrupted if a deal cannot be reached to allow fresh or chilled meat products to travel from Britain into Northern Ireland.
Talks are ongoing to try and resolve the issue, which Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, has described as ‘concerning’.
‘There’s going to be significant work then required in the weeks ahead as well to ensure that trade is as smooth and as efficient as possible on the first of January,’ he said.
Last-minute talks are underway to avoid a two-way embargo on uncooked prepared meat products such as sausages, mince and burgers, which EU regulations state cannot be imported into the bloc unless frozen to minus 18C [Stock photo]
Little progress has reportedly been made in persuading the EU to grant an export health certificate to uncooked processed meats despite the issue being raised early in negotiations.
Retaliatory measures from the UK could be economically damaging to Ireland, which exported 335,000 tonnes of beef, pig, sheep and poultry meat worth €1.3 billion to the UK in 2018, The Times reported.
‘It’s been pointed out that the government has committed to mirroring EU food safety legislation after we leave the bloc,’ The Times reported a Whitehall source as saying.
‘That means if they ban it then we’ll ban it too.’
Tens of millions of pounds worth of meat will be threatened and supply chains disrupted if a deal cannot be reached to allow fresh or chilled meat products to travel from Britain into Northern Ireland [Stock photo]
The European Commission has refused to comment on the fray, while a British government spokesperson said the talks were ongoing and they hoped a resolution could be found in the coming weeks, the Times reported.
Negotiations moved online last week after a member of Michel Barnier’s team tested positive for coronavirus.
The EU’s chief negotiator is due to conduct meetings in person in London this week if he tests negative.
EU sources have claimed that the deal is 95% complete save for a few major obstacles, The Telegraph reported.
These include questions of fishing, a level playing field trade policy and how the final deal will be enforced.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is due to conduct face-to-face meetings in London this week if he tests negative for coronavirus after a member of his team tested positive [File photo]