Last reviewed 7 July 2021

With the deadline of 30 June getting ever closer it began to look as though the EU and UK would be taking their argument over the Northern Ireland Protocol to court, but eventually they agreed to postpone a final decision until the Autumn.

The Protocol originally included a six-month grace period before traders would have to obey EU single market rules, which prohibit the importation of chilled meats from third countries (those outside the Union).

At one point the UK had indicated that it would unilaterally extend that period, but agreement has now been reached with the EU which will allow chilled meats from Great Britain, such as sausages, to be sent to Northern Ireland until 30 September.

Cabinet Minister Lord Frost said: “This is a positive first step but we still need to agree a permanent solution — Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and its consumers should be able to enjoy products they have bought from Great Britain for years”.

This is a very clear sign that the Protocol has to be operated in a pragmatic and proportionate way, he went on.

The chilled meats issue is only one of a very large number of problems with the way the Protocol is currently operating, and solutions need to be found with the EU to ensure it delivers on its original aims, Lord Frost stated.

His comments were accompanied by a Declaration by the United Kingdom on Meat Products which can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/declaration-by-the-united-kingdom-on-meat-products-30-june-2021/declaration-by-the-united-kingdom-on-meat-products-30-june-2021.

This sets out the conditions under which meat products otherwise classed as prohibited and restricted goods will move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, including being accompanied by official certificates and labelled for sale only within the UK.

The arrangements for the extension period are largely the same as those agreed in December. The UK will aim to introduce product-level labelling as soon as practicable, but businesses will be given time and support to put the arrangements in place.