Lord Frost demands EU shows more 'common sense' over Northern Ireland
Lord Frost ramped up pressure on Brussels as he visited the province last night to meet business and community representatives angry about the rules. Sectarian tensions have been fuelled by a raft of checks on goods at the ports of Belfast and Larne, with unionists protesting about obstacles to trade with the British mainland.New DUP leader Edwin Poots has accused the EU of using Northern Ireland as a 'plaything' to punish the UK for leaving the bloc.
United States President Joe Biden has waded into a dispute between the UK and EU over Northern Ireland. © Provided by The i Anti-Northern Ireland Protocol protestors demonstrate during a rally organised by mid-Ulster coalition of Unionists and Loyalists, in Portadown, Northern Ireland (Photo: Reuters)
The row is to do with a section of the Brexit trade deal called the Northern Ireland Protocol.
If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, it could result in a ban on sausages, burgers and other chilled meats entering Northern Ireland from great Britain.
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
One of the priorities for the Brexit deal between the UK and EU was that the Good Friday Agreement remain intact.
EU is set to launch a sausage war with UK over Northern Ireland row
Maros Sefcovic said Brussels would react 'swiftly and resolutely' if Britain chose to extend the grace period in the Northern Ireland Protocol, which expires at the end of this month. Under the grace period, chilled meats produced in mainland Britain can be sent there. But it has been reported that ministers are now considering another unilateral extension for the produce as a last resort. © Provided by Daily Mail ( Earlier this year Britain extended the grace periods on supermarket goods and parcels.In March the EU hit back, launching legal action and accusing Britain of violating international law.
The Good Friday Agreement is the peace deal between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, part of which means there is an open border between the two countries.
This has been complicated by Brexit, because the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is now a border between the UK and EU, and EU law requires certain good to be inspected when they arrive from non-EU countries.
To get around this, the UK and EU negotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol, which allows good to cross the Irish border without being inspected.
Instead, a regulatory border was set up between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which means inspections on some goods from England, Scotland and Wales must take place at Northern Irish ports.
Sausage wars! Ministers condemn 'nonsensical' Brexit NI trade curbs
George Eustice demanded the EU takes a less 'bureaucratic' stance after the UK signalled it is ready to keep ignoring post-Brexit rules preventing imports of goods to NI from the British mainland.Environment Secretary George Eustice demanded the bloc takes a less 'bureaucratic' stance after the government signalled it is ready to keep ignoring post-Brexit rules preventing imports of goods from the British mainland including chilled meats.
The Northern Ireland Protocol officially came into force on 1 January, but with a six-month grace period, meaning it will start existing in practice from 1 July.
Goods that must be inspected include meat, milk, fish and eggs, and customs declarations must be filled out.
Why is there a dispute?
The protocol has been criticised for effectively creating a border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
President Biden will tell Boris Johnson not to let the row put the Good Friday Agreement at risk when the pair meet on Thursday.
In the US president’s first overseas visit, aides said he will stress the need to “stand behind” the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The EU has threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it fails to implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit “divorce” settlement which Mr Johnson signed.
At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday ahead of the summit, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen again insisted the protocol was the “only solution” to prevent a hard border with the Republic and must be implemented in full.
“We have shown flexibility, we will show flexibility, but the protocol and the Withdrawal Agreement have to be implemented completely,” she said.
The Prime Minister told reporters on Wednesday that resolving the dispute with Brussels was “easily doable”.
He added: “What we want to do is make sure that we can have a solution that guarantees the peace process, protects the peace process, but also guarantees the economic and territorial integrity of the whole United Kingdom.”
'Peace or protocol?': Loyalist protesters say the government has a choice to make .
They were beating the drums so hard in Newtownards, County Down, you could almost have heard them in Downing Street. © Sky News Screen Grab Loyalist protesters in Newtownards have been calling on Boris Johnson to scrap plans for an Irish Sea border Loyalists are taking to the streets of Northern Ireland on an almost weekly basis to demand Boris Johnson scraps the Irish Sea border.Jamie Bryson organised this rally. A loyalist close to the thinking of some paramilitaries, he says the government has a choice to make.Mr Bryson said: "It says on the banner peace or the protocol, it's your choice.