July 25, 2021

Between London and the EU, small gestures of post-Brexit appeasement without settling the blocking issues

Finally, the European Union (EU) agreed, Wednesday June 30, to extend the grace period by three months, until September 30, at the end of which the prepared and minced meats can in theory no longer be exported without control. from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, as they were before Brexit. The “sausage war” will therefore not take place for the moment.

Brussels does not allow imports of chilled meat from third countries, which the United Kingdom became when it left the community block in January. But, in order to respect the Good Friday peace agreement and avoid the emergence of a border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, itself a member of the EU, the Northern Irish protocol negotiated between Brussels and London provides for checks to be carried out at sea, between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As a result, the British province remains integrated into the single European market.

In recent days, London has also made a gesture on fishing, another politically high risk issue between the two ex-partners. French vessels in the area of ​​the island of Guernsey, which risked losing the right to fish at the end of June, were also given a three-month delay.

“Not a blank check”

The European Commission also announced on Wednesday that it would change its legislation to make it easier for medicines to pass between Britain and the Republic of Ireland. “This is a response to those who say the EU is inflexible or too legalistic”, commented the Vice-President of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic. Finally, Brussels has made concessions for the movement of guide dogs and agreed to exempt UK drivers from presenting car insurance as soon as they enter the EU.

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“We do not give a blank check”, nevertheless warned Maros Sefcovic. Moreover, the EU is continuing the procedures it launched against London, when Boris Johnson unilaterally announced to postpone the application of the Northern Irish protocol. It was even to announce today the phase 2 of the infringement procedure (which can go as far as the referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union) against the United Kingdom, but has decided to not to spoil the day and preferred to postpone this stage for a few weeks. Likewise, it was soon to formally initiate the dispute settlement procedure provided for in the Northern Irish Protocol: this, which must be held before arbitration tribunals, may result in retaliatory commercial measures by the part of the EU.

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