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EU propose NI protocol changes

Earlier this week the EU announced they will scrap 80% of checks on foods entering Northern Ireland.

Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s Brexit commissioner said, “It’s very clear that we cannot have access to the single market without the supervision of the ECJ (European Court of Justice). But I think that we should really put aside this business of the red lines, the business of deadlines, real or artificial, and we should really focus on what we hear from the stakeholders and the people in Northern Ireland, they want us to solve the practical issues.” (Boffey and Rankin, 2021)

What is the EU proposing?

The EU has said a renegotiation of the text of the Protocol is out of the question.

It has insisted that "both sides are legally bound to fulfil their obligations under the Agreement".

But it has set out proposals that it says would lead to an 80% reduction in checks that would have been needed on food products arriving in Northern Ireland, as well as halving the amount of paperwork involved.

For example, a lorry arriving from Great Britain (GB) carrying a load of different farmed food products would only need a single certificate - instead of needing a different one for each product.

The EU is also proposing a reduction in the customs information firms needs to provide and says it intends to pass legislation to allow the trade in medicines between GB and NI to continue.

And rules that would have prevented chilled meats such as Cumberland sausages being sent from GB to NI would also be relaxed.

But in return, the EU wants extra safeguards to prevent products from GB crossing into the Republic of Ireland - as well as access to UK data showing real time trade flows.

It is a package of measures designed to address practical concerns for people in Northern Ireland. But it is not a renegotiation. (Edington and Morris, 2021)

Clearing Customs UK are ready to help you and your business navigate all your customs requirements. Please contact us at and one of our team will be happy to help.


1. Boffey, D. and Rankin, J., 2021. EU offers to scrap 80% of NI food checks but prepares for Johnson to reject deal. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 October 2021].

2. Edington, T. and Morris, C., 2021. Brexit: What's the Northern Ireland Protocol?. [online] BBC News. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 October 2021].

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