‘EU and Britain close to agreement on Northern Ireland issue’

The European Union and the United Kingdom are close to reaching an agreement to end tensions over customs controls in Northern Ireland. That Bloomberg News Agency reports based on both British and Brussels officials.

The British government has asked the European Union to allow Northern Ireland to import sausages and chilled meats from the UK for a longer period. The sources said that European negotiators are now inclined to agree. However, there is no final agreement yet.

In Brexit, it was agreed that the import of British chilled meat into Northern Ireland would eventually be banned, because the EU prohibits the import of chilled meat from outside the national bloc. Although Northern Ireland does not belong to the European Union, it still has to comply with many European rules due to the Brexit deal agreements. In peace talks in the 1990s, it was agreed that border controls should never be allowed between Northern Ireland and Ireland, meaning that customs would have to establish internal controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain to enforce EU rules.

London really wants to get rid of controls on some goods Britain exports to Northern Ireland, because they would cause so much disruption to local communities. The complaint said the EU’s tough stance would only exacerbate tensions in Northern Ireland between supporters of Irish unity and pro-British trade unionists.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened to suspend part of the Brexit protocol if the EU did not agree to a compromise over Northern Ireland. He would like to use a special provision of the Brexit agreement that makes it possible for both parties to withdraw if compliance with the agreements would have serious consequences. Then the European Union accused the British government of not complying with international agreements.

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