EU will ditch majority of Northern Ireland red tape and end Brexit Sausage War

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Brussels tonight agreed to end the vast majority of Northern Ireland border checks in a major Brexit breakthrough.

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EU chiefs introduced a plan to eliminate 80% of red tape on fresh food products and half the paperwork for all other goods.

EU chief Maros Sefkovic has offered to abolish border check areas in Northern Irelandcredit: EPA
Brexit Minister Lord Frost welcomes Brussels' 'significant move'

Brexit Minister Lord Frost welcomes Brussels’ ‘significant move’credit: Dan Edwards / No. 10 Downing Stree

But he rejected No. 10’s demand that euro judges be stripped of their police powers in the revised deal.


And he risked a row with the federalists by refusing to soften the rules on carrying pets in the Irish Sea.

Eurocrats insisted that their plan is not to “take it or leave it” and said they want a deal by the end of the year.

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But he urged Britain to be “realistic” and warned that he would not shy away from the role of the EU court.

The prime minister’s Brexit chief Lord Frost sees as “fundamental” the fix to the NI protocol ending the rule of euro judges.

But he welcomed the fact that Brussels “has moved forward” and insisted that they have not set any “red lines” ahead of the talks.

He added: “We are starting a conversation and we have a track record of reaching successful results despite predictions that we will not.

“I hope we do it again this time.”

EU negotiators traveled to London today to start three weeks of non-stop talks about their plan.

Brussels boss Maros Sefkovic said the bloc is “showing great resilience” with its “truly unprecedented” proposals.

He added: “Today’s package has the potential to make a real, tangible difference on the ground.”

The blueprint will include the construction of “express lanes” for goods that are destined for NI only.

The check exemption, which already applies to supermarkets, is being extended to the entire retail sector.

The ban on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables will be lifted and the Great British Sausage will be banned.

box ticking cut off

With one piece of paperwork now box ticking with each shipment will also be dramatically reduced.

Earlier supermarket trucks carrying 100 different products had to file a separate form for each.

Customs exemptions are also being broadly extended to include SMEs carrying their goods across the Irish Sea.

An EU official said: “It goes far beyond tinkering around the edges. It means far less paperwork and will make a huge practical difference.”

British negotiators were pleased with the proposals and acknowledged that Eurocrats had given them their best shot.

He hopes a deal will put an end to many years of thorny NI controversy and bring UK-EU relations to a much calmer state.

Tory chairman Oliver Dowden said the plans are a “welcome move” and that No 10 will “connect very constructively” with them.

He warned that the jurisdiction of the euro judges in the NI remains “a major issue for us”, but would not say it is a dealbreaker.

But Irish Deputy PM Leo Varadkar risks disturbing the fragile peace with a bad timing on Boris Johnson.

He added that other countries that have signed a trade deal with the prime minister should be careful that Britain “does not necessarily have its say”.

His remarks came in response to former No 10 guru Dominic Cummings claiming that the UK never intended to honor the Brexit deal.

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