Economy & Politics

Sausages, fish & Co: These foods will cause disputes during Brexit

Britain and the EU are still stalling in their negotiations for a Brexit agreement. While on the European mainland all eyes are fixed on the progress of the negotiations, the British tabloids are particularly angry about one aspect of the Brexit dispute: the import restrictions on British sausages and meat products.

Because Brussels wants to allow the import of British sausages in a “no-deal Brexit” to Ireland only in a frozen state. The reason is the EU food rules for third countries, which without a trade agreement would also apply to all meat and sausage products from Great Britain. Since Ireland is the only UK country to remain in the EU internal market after the deadline, the new regulation would also apply to Irish-UK trade.

British media fear the “sausage case”

For the British media and some politicians, this amounts to an import ban. London countered that it would also consider the same measures in a “no-deal Brexit” for sausage and meat products from mainland Europe.

In Great Britain, the sausages have long since made the headlines, especially the tabloids see the possible import regulation as an attack on domestic products. “Negotiations take a turn for the sausage,” jokes The Week newspaper. The Daily Mail also jokes that they fear “the sausage”. And the otherwise cautious Times reports on a “sausage war” and recalls the political sitcom “Yes Minister”. There, the fictional character Jim Hacker asserted himself against the EU’s plan to ban the popular “bangers”.

If the EU and Great Britain do not come to an agreement, the unanimous opinion of the media landscape threatens a mutual “sausage ban”, which for Europe could end with “Irish sausages no longer being available on British supermarket shelves and German sausages being refused further travel in Calais “Says the Times.

Food as a point of contention in Brexit

The British meat industry is hoping for an exception from the EU regulation. Above all, the Northern Irish meat industry, which accounts for a lion’s share of British exports to mainland Europe, would have a hard time meeting the new rules from January 1st. In 2018 it exported 300,000 tonnes of meat with an equivalent of 1.3 billion euros to the EU. Many producers worry that importing frozen meat is more cumbersome and could deter EU importers. In addition, there is a lack of cooling capacity to store the goods appropriately until they are exported.

Sausage and meat products are not the first foods to cause trouble around Brexit. The food industry is one of the most important sectors. According to the British Ministry of Agriculture, almost 45 percent of the food consumed in 2019 came from abroad, 26 percent of it from EU member states. Every fourth was imported from mainland Europe. Conversely, more than half of UK food exports worth £ 14.6 billion go to EU member states.

The new regulations for production standards, certificates for imports or the labeling of goods have repeatedly caused disputes in recent months. This series of pictures shows a small selection.

These foods are also causing trouble around Brexit


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