The EU and UK have been embroiled in a “sausage war” in recent months, and there are less than 30 days until the current deadline to reach a deal. As it stands, shops in Northern Ireland will be banned from selling, among other things, British sausages from October 1, unless a deal is reached or talks are extended. The UK government is seeking to further extend the grace period – allowing goods to move from Britain to Northern Ireland – but Brussels has responded with a threat, saying it could take legal action against the Kingdom -United.
As the row has escalated in recent months, the UK government has warned of retaliation in the form of a “water war”.
In February, The Telegraph reported that ministers were considering proposals dubbed “Waters Wars” – citing potential restrictions on the import of mineral water among other goods.
A senior government source told the newspaper: “We are thinking about where we can leverage in other areas. We have going concern agreements … we can stop them, which means they won’t be able to sell their products here. “
Discussion of possible retaliatory measures began after Brussels announced that a ban on the export of live oysters, clams, scallops and mussels from Class B British waters would become permanent as it is now listed as third country.
In early July, UK Environment Secretary George Eustice appeared to raise the bar with a veiled threat.
He wrote to EU food safety czar Sandra Gallina to tell him that “all natural mineral waters which have gained recognition as a member state will no longer be allowed to be imported into England”, unless they are accredited by UK regulators.
A spokesperson for Downing Street said: “We have been working with all the major vendors to provide support and inform them of the changes.”
In addition to this, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has asked European water exporters to contact the department, Food Standards Scotland or the Food Standards Agency for Wales to continue. to ship their products next year.
One expert, however, was not impressed with the UK’s tactics, saying that the fact that EU mineral water has been sold in the UK so far “indicates that it has very little to do with it. with mineral water, it is a tool for political negotiation ”.
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Dr Alexandre Nobajas, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and Geographic Information Systems at Keele University, told CityAM: “Mineral water in both the EU and UK is a highly regulated business. which guarantees high product standards, so there is no need to further complicate its sale. with more paperwork.
“If mineral water is to be used as a negotiating tool to put pressure on the EU on other issues, the government may come up with another set of rules that may make it difficult – if not impossible – to import water of the EU. “
For now, the sausage war truce should be extended to allow for further discussions.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said today: “We will be providing an update to Parliament on the standstill arrangements very soon.
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“We have previously stressed the importance of bringing certainty to businesses and citizens through standstill agreements so that we can have space for our discussions with the EU.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods, avoiding a hard border with Ireland to the extent of additional bureaucratic barriers for goods crossing Britain.
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said he expects the current grace periods to be extended.
He added: “I think there is a high probability that this will happen, we are certainly open to it.”
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This notice was published: 2021-09-06 14:33:09