Brussels (Brussels Morning) The UK has asked the EU for an extension of the agreed grace period to 2023 on checks that are to be conducted on trade moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, in order to soften the impact on the north, BBC reported on Wednesday.
Under the Brexit terms, Northern Ireland remains a part of the EU common market, while the rest of the UK has left it. The deal necessitated goods checks for cargo crossing the Irish Sea. Following the UK’s exit from the bloc on 1 January, a three-month grace period for Northern Ireland was put in place, the aim being to ease some of the rules, such as food being moved by supermarkets and wholesale groups from Britain to Northern Ireland.
Extension beyond March
The UK’s Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, in charge of negotiating with the EU Commission and Northern Ireland’s devolved administration, said the grace period should be extended beyond March.
Northern Ireland experienced some supply problems last month as a consequence of Brexit, with hauliers having difficulties transporting goods, parcel deliveries being disrupted, and supermarkets struggling to fully restock their shelves.
Although some of the supply problems have been resolved since, Gove told the Parliament that supermarkets and other businesses needed to be sure they could continue to supply consumers. “Trust has been eroded, damage has been done and urgent action is therefore needed,” Gove said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for “urgent action from the EU to resolve outstanding problems” about how the protocol was being implemented in order to ensure “Northern Ireland benefits from Brexit just like every other part of our United Kingdom”.