BRITAIN and the EU are on course to strike a temporary truce over the bitter Northern Ireland sausage war.
Brexit minister Lord Frost has asked Brussels to delay a ban on bangers and burgers from coming into force at the end of this month.
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And today EU officials said they’re open to allowing more time for talks on a permanent solution to the stand-off.
The planned embargo on shipments of chilled meats between GB and NI has enraged Unionists and sparked a political crisis.
It overshadowed last week’s G7 summit and prompted a huge bust up between Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron.
But since Joe Biden stepped in both sides have looked to take the heat out of the blazing argument.
The row erupted over EU laws which ban imports of chilled meats into its Single Market, which now includes NI.
A six month grace period during which the rules don’t apply to Belfast runs out at the end of this month.
Boris Johnson has threatened to go it alone and refuse to enforce the embargo if a solution can’t be found.
That has enraged eurocrats who have threatened legal action including possible tariffs on UK goods in response.
British officials are responsible for carrying out border checks on behalf of the EU under the terms of last year’s Brexit deal.
Appearing before MPs today Lord Frost urged eurocrats to their “purist” approach to the banger ban.
He warned them support for the border fix has “corroded rapidly” in NI and they need to “look at things in a more reasonable way”.
But he also offered an olive branch by announcing the UK wants to agree more time for talks with Brussels.
He said: “We have asked and suggested to the EU that the right way forward would be to agree to extend the grace period.
“At least for a bit, to provide a bit of a breathing space for the current discussions to continue and try and find solutions.
“I still hold out some hope that they might agree to that. We are not having much progress but there is a little bit of time left.”
EU insiders said the bloc is “obviously not against” such an idea but will want some reassurances from No 10 first.
Brussels is angry at what it sees as the UK’s failure to implement large parts of the NI border fix agreed last year.
And it is worried a delay could lead to “rolling grace periods” with the issue being repeatedly kicked into the long grass.
An EU Commission spokesman said he wasn’t aware of any formal request for an extension by the UK.
But he added: “Our main aim now is to provide predictability and stability to the people in Northern Ireland.
“We are willing to find solutions, we are willing to work with the UK. But we really need to see credible implementation by the UK of their commitments.”
Chief eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen said she’s “deeply convinced” the two sides can find a deal “with a constructive approach”.
She added: “There are difficulties, and there are serious issues that have to be solved. We are building here. These issues can be overcome.”
British ministers also expressed concern over comments by Dublin’s deputy PM Leo Varadkar predicting a United Ireland within his lifetime.
The 42-year-old said unification should be “something we aspire to” and it’s “part of our mission to work towards it”.
Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis said he was “surprised” by the remarks which he called “unhelpful and ill-advised”.
Lord Frost added: “It would be good if people could be conscious of the way their words land at a sensitive moment in Northern Ireland.”