Brexit sausage war ‘on hold’ as EU expected to grant three month extension

The EU is said to have informally agreed to a three-month extension (Image: PA)

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The Brexit sausage war is on hold, it has been reported.

According to Irish broadcaster RTE, EU member states have informally agreed to grant Britain a three-month extension to one of the contentious aspects of the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol.

Britain asked Brussels for the extra time last week to resolve a dispute over whether chilled meat products such as sausages, produced in the mainland United Kingdom, can continue to be sold in Northern Ireland.

RTE reported that member states informally agreed to do so subject to Britain continuing to align with EU food safety rules for the duration of the extension, and that both sides keep exploring a long term solution to the issue of food consignments leaving Britain for Northern Ireland.

It's understood details are still being "ironed out."

The 'sausage war' broke out between Boris Johnson and EU leaders after Brussels refused to budge on trading rules that he himself agreed as part of his Brexit deal.

The grace period allowing chilled meats to cross the Irish Sea under the terms of the Brexit deal was due to expire at the end of the month.

The UK faced a cliff-edge deadline at the end of this month
(Image: DARREN STAPLES/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX)

Under the PM's 2019 Northern Ireland Protocol, many British goods crossing the Irish Sea west to Northern Ireland must undergo EU checks or fulfil EU rules.

This was designed to avoid a damaging "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic – but has instead created a border in the Irish Sea.

With no agreement, It would mean a total ban on British "chilled meat preparations", including sausages, travelling to Belfast once the grace period expired on June 30.

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Downing Street said a requested extension to the grace period was still being discussed.

Asked whether Boris Johnson was optimistic about an extension, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We're discussing this with our EU counterparts currently.

"There is no further update and that work is ongoing. We do want to find a solution."

The No 10 spokesman said the Government had not received a response "as yet" to its letter requesting a continuation of the grace period.

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