The European Union is ready to relax export rules for British meat and other products to Northern Ireland. The European Commission will announce this on Wednesday. There has recently been a great deal of disagreement between Brussels and London on this issue.
The United Kingdom left the EU last year, but Northern Ireland was given a special status. It belongs to the UK, but is still part of the EU’s internal market. This means that there are restrictions on goods transported from England, Scotland or Wales to Northern Ireland.
That is a thorn in the side of the British government, because it has actually created a border between different parts of the kingdom. It also makes it more difficult to ship food to Northern Ireland. There was even a ban on, among other things, British sausages.
Earlier this year, that caused empty shelves in the Northern Irish supermarkets. The British government therefore wants the situation to change. The EU is therefore now putting forward proposals to facilitate exports to Northern Ireland. The British have already expressed their satisfaction with the proposals.
Not all the troubles have disappeared. In any case, the London government does not want Northern Ireland to remain part of the European single market. There is also annoyance about the fact that the European Court of Justice monitors compliance with the rules. The British want to be able to monitor this for themselves.
The EU does not go along with this, Brussels made it clear on Wednesday. It wants to maintain the special status of Northern Ireland and the EU court should continue to monitor it.