Panicked EU chiefs chill threats of sausage trade war with Britain
PANIC EU leaders have cooled threats of a sausage trade war with Britain after being accused of risking the peace in Northern Ireland.
Stepping away from the brink, Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen said she was “deeply convinced” that a solution could be found and pledged to show more “flexibility”.
She worked to ease growing tensions after DUP leader Edwin Poots accused the bloc of “harming the peace process” with its Baryan demands.
The furious row over a planned EU ban on the sale of chilled meats from GB to NI has eclipsed the start of the G7 summit.
The ministers are not ruling out refusing to apply the blockade if a long-term solution cannot be found within the next three weeks.
Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena has pledged: “We will defend the British sausage and no one can ever destroy it”.
But the EU says such a move would violate the Brexit deal and could retaliate with tariffs and quotas on British products.
And the White House issued Number 10 in extraordinary diplomatic disguise to “endanger” the peace with its position.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said “any measure that undermines the ‘Good Friday deal’ will not be welcomed by the United States.”
Brussels has not denied receiving a similar lick from Washington.
A Commission spokesperson said: “I cannot confirm such a move from the United States to the EU.
“We do not comment on contacts between the EU and diplomatic missions.”
And in a bid to calm tensions, Ms von der Leyen offered an olive branch before heading to Cornwall for crucial talks with the Prime Minister.
She said: âThe EU is committed to making the Protocol work for everyone in Northern Ireland.
“Often the devil is in the details. We will be flexible on specific topics, but the general framework is set and it needs to be implemented now.”
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove insisted that the UK, US and Ireland are “all on the same page” to protect the peace process.
But the DUP was enraged by the White House’s intervention in the row and said it would be “absolutely scandalous” if it supported the EU.
Mr Poots warned that such a move by Washington “would drive a coach and horses” under the Good Friday deal.
And he accused Brussels of “threatening” the toughest Britons with his threat of a banger ban.
He fumed: âIt’s obscene, it’s unreal that the EU is proposing this path.
The EU really needs to think about it. “
The leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, accused Brussels of acting “unfriendly” and of “playing ducks and drakes with the peace process”.
Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay added, âTrade wars can start with serious problems.
“Big boys and girls in the EU want one instead of sausages. Seriously.”
But Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said the White House intervention was “meaningful” and sent a “clear message” to the prime minister to compromise.
He said: “The sensible thing to do here is to have an alignment between the UK and the EU and the US.”
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And in a new thaw of tensions, negotiators last night concluded a historic first fisheries agreement between the EU and an independent UK.
Under the terms, UK trawlers will see a 20% increase in their catches this year, which now stands at 160,000 tonnes, worth around Â£ 333million.
Environment Secretary George Eustice beamed: “We have been consistent in representing the interests of our industry.”