PM: Wurst is behind us over NI Protocol

Boris Johnson has suggested that the post-Brexit dispute over chilled meats heading to Northern Ireland from Britain will improve, following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 8:20 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference after with Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel meeting at Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Buckinghamshire, on Friday July 2, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference after with Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel meeting at Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Buckinghamshire, on Friday July 2, 2021

The German leader said she and the Prime Minister discussed the implementation of Brexit’s contentious Northern Ireland protocol, and she expressed optimism that “pragmatic solutions” can be reached.

The two leaders appeared at a joint press conference during Mrs Merkel’s visit to Chequers.

Mr Johnson said: “Imagine if bratwurst could not be moved from Dortmund to Dusseldorf because of the jurisdiction of an international court – you’d think it was absolutely extraordinary.

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“So we have to sort it out.

“I’m sure, as Angela says, with goodwill and with patience we can sort it out.

“Hopefully, as we said at our bilateral, when it comes to chilled meats the wurst is behind us, as I think Angela said, or maybe I said that.”

The potential prohibition on chilled meats from Great Britain is one result of the Northern Ireland Protocol which has created a series of economic barriers on Irish Sea trade.

The protocol is aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

Shipments of chilled meats from third countries into the single market are generally banned – a prohibition which will eventually cover the rest of the UK unless a lasting solution is found.

Mrs Merkel said: “Of course we talked about the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“I personally believe that on the basis of this Protocol, and within the framework of how it was negotiated, we can find pragmatic solutions that on the one hand maintain the integrity of the single market, but that will also on the other hand contribute to creating acceptable solutions for the people.

“It is obviously understandable that this was prolonged, and I think it’s a good thing that it was prolonged for another few months, and I think it should be possible for all of us to come to a pragmatic solution within this grace period.

“And I think I’m optimistic that this can happen.”

This week Brussels warned it is not giving Mr Johnson’s government a “blank cheque” after agreeing that chilled meats can be shipped to NI for another three months.

The deal avoids a trade dispute by delaying the ban until September 30.

l Ben Lowry, page 11