PANICKED EU chiefs have cooled threats of a sausage trade war with Britain after being accused of risking the peace in Northern Ireland.
Stepping back from the brink, Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen said she’s “deeply convinced” a fix can be found and vowed to show more “flexibility”.
Panicked EU chiefs have cooled their threats of a sausage trade war with Britain[/caption]
She scrambled to soothe growing tensions after DUP leader Edwin Poots accused the bloc of “damaging the peace process” with its barmy demands.
The furious row over a planned EU ban on the sale of chilled meats from GB into NI overshadowed the start of the G7 summit.
Ministers have not ruled out refusing to enforce the blockade if a long-term solution can’t be found in the next three weeks.
Trade minister Ranil Jayawardena vowed: “We will stand up for the British sausage and no-one will ever be able to destroy it.”
But the EU says such a move would be in breach of the Brexit deal and it could hit back with tariffs and quotas on UK goods.
And the White House has issued No 10 with an extraordinary diplomatic dressing down for “imperilling” the peace with its stance.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said “any steps that undermine” the Good Friday Agreement “will not be welcomed by the US”.
Brussels did not deny that it had received a similar tongue-lashing from Washington.
A Commission spokesman said: “I cannot confirm any such demarche from the US to the EU.
Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen said she’s ‘deeply convinced’ a fix can be found and vowed to show more ‘flexibility’[/caption]
“We do not comment on contacts between the EU and diplomatic missions.”
And in a bid to cool tensions Mrs von der Leyen offered up an olive branch ahead of jetting into Cornwall for crunch talks with the PM.
She said: “The EU is determined to make the protocol work for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.
“Often the devil is in the detail. We will show flexibility on specific topics, but the overall frame is set and it has to be implemented now.”
Cabinet minister Michael Gove insisted the UK, US, and Ireland are “all on the same page” about protecting the peace process.
But the DUP was enraged by the White House’s intervention in the row and said it would be “absolutely outrageous” if it backs the EU.
Mr Poots warned such a move by Washington would “drive a coach and horses” through the Good Friday Agreement.
And he accused Brussels of “threatening” the hardest up Brits with its banger ban threat.
He fumed: “It’s obscene, it’s unreal that the EU is proposing this course.
The EU really needs to reflect on this.”
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Brussels of acting in an “unfriendly” way and “playing ducks and drakes with the peace process”.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove insisted the UK, US, and Ireland are ‘all on the same page’ about protecting the peace process[/caption]
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay added: “Trade wars can start over serious issues.
“The big boys and girls at the EU want one over sausages. Seriously.”
But Irish PM Micheal Martin said the White House’s intervention was “significant” and sent a “clear message” to the PM to compromise.
He said: “The sensible thing to do here is to have alignment between the UK and the EU and the US.”
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And in a further thawing of tensions negotiators last night struck a landmark first fishing deal between the EU and an independent UK.
Under the terms British trawlers will net a 20% increase in their catch this year which is now up to 160,000 tonnes, worth some £333million.
Environment Secretary George Eustice beamed: “We have been steadfast in representing the interests of our industry.”