The EU and the British government have recently tried to de-escalate the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has been simmering for months.

When London extended the transition periods for goods controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain agreed in the withdrawal agreement in September one more time and without an end date, Brussels “took note” of this relatively calmly.

Hendrik Kafsack

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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Philip Plickert

Business correspondent based in London.

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The European Commission is now apparently even ready to accommodate the British on an important point.

She wants to accept that a lot of food will circulate permanently without controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which remains in the EU single market.

It's about meat, pharmaceuticals and the ECJ

The responsible Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič will present specific proposals this Wednesday, the EU authority said.

Accordingly, products such as sausages, ham or even British cheese could be imported into Northern Ireland without controls, it said in Brussels.

The prerequisite for this is that they are clearly marked as being exclusively for sale in the “United Kingdom” and that they do not flow into the Republic of Ireland.

First the "Financial Times" reported about it.

The offer is intended to solve the "sausage war" proclaimed by the British media.

It revolves around the fact that, according to the Northern Ireland Protocol, food such as "minced" meat can only be imported there if the EU hygiene rules are observed.

It is the second time the EU has moved in the dispute.

Previously, it had adjusted its rules on medicines to allow Northern Ireland to be supplied from the UK.

However, shortly before the weekend, Šefčovič had made it clear that the Northern Ireland Protocol would remain inviolable even for the EU.

This also means that the European Court of Justice should continue to rule on disputes. But that is precisely what is evidently much more important to the British government than the sausage war. The British government said at the weekend that Brexit Minister Lord David Frost would argue in a speech on Tuesday that the ECJ is not a neutral court. According to speeches leaked to the BBC, Frost will say that the Protocol "has no chance of surviving without new arrangements in this area".

Boris Johnson's government approved the Northern Ireland Protocol including the ECJ role in 2019.

But then she changed the pitch and said that she had agreed "under very special circumstances".

Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney warned in harsh words that the British request to remove the ECJ could lead to a "breakdown in relations with the EU".

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