As part of efforts to resolve the long-running dispute over the Northern Irish protocol, EU and UK negotiators have made a breakthrough in reducing checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
According to a senior EU official, an agreement on food and animal health checks was “close to being done” as part of a deal that would create red and green lanes at Northern Irish ports to differentiate between goods staying in the region and those moving south to the EU’s single market.
Goods from Great Britain destined to stay in Northern Ireland would go through a green lane with lighter checks, although the precise nature of customs paperwork, and food and animal health checks remains unclear.
The deal would require the UK to meet EU requirements to prevent food and animals for Northern Ireland slipping into the EU’s internal markets via the Irish land border. Food products would have to be labelled; UK authorities would have to undertake market surveillance to monitor and enforce food safety and animal welfare standards.