| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

UK to extend Northern Ireland’s Brexit grace periods

Brexit minister David Frost said on Monday that Britain plans to further extend post-Brexit grace periods on some goods imports to Northern Ireland, in a move designed to give London and Brussels more time for talks about trade with the province.

The fate of British-ruled Northern Ireland was the most contentious issue in Britain’s talks over its exit from the European Union, which was finalized on Dec. 31, and it has continued to cause friction.

To prevent imposing a hard border on the island of Ireland, Britain approved to leave some EU rules in place in its province of Northern Ireland and accept checks on goods arriving there from elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

London has since said the arrangement is not working and wants it changed, while the EU rejects renegotiating the treaty.

“To provide space for potential further discussions (with the EU), and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the government will continue to operate the protocol on the current basis,” Frost said in a written ministerial statement.

“This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force,” he said.

The European Union took note of Britain’s plans, but said it was not pursuing further legal steps against London.

“At present, the Commission is not moving to the next stage of the infringement procedure launched in March 2021, and is not opening any new infringements for now,” the bloc’s executive said in a statement.

  • Reuters