The EU has proposed scrapping 80% of checks on food entering Northern Ireland and 50% of checks on manufactured goods.

It hopes the removal of red tape could open up the ‘home stretch’ to solving the bitter row over the Northern Ireland protocol.

But it appears far from certain that the government will be satisfied, with Brexit minister Lord Frost having demanded the entire protocol is rewritten.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said: ‘We have explored every possible angle of the protocol and, at times, went beyond current EU law.

‘We continue to stand united behind Northern Ireland while at the same time remaining determined to protect our internal market.

‘Now I invite the UK Government to engage with us earnestly and intensively on all our proposals.

‘With them I’m convinced we could be in the home stretch when it comes to the protocol.’

His ‘alternative model’ to the protocol would end the need for physical checks on most food products arriving from Great Britain.

More companies would be added to a trusted trader list which exempts them from customs tariffs.

Medicines would be able to move freely from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.

It also removes the prospect of certain British produce, including Cumberland sausages, being banned from export to the region.

Mr Sefcovic and Lord Frost are set to meet on Friday to discuss the EU’s new plan.

The protocol, agreed in 2019, effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European Union’s single market for goods to prevent a hard border with Ireland by placing a trade barrier in the Irish Sea.

The full terms of the deal has yet to be applied due to the continuation of a series of grace periods that the UK has unilaterally extended on an indefinite basis.

Concerns linger that chilled meat products, including burgers and sausages, will no longer be exportable from to Northern Ireland when it kicks in.

A government spokesperson said the latest EU proposals were being studied and that ministers ‘will of course look at them seriously and constructively.

‘The next step should be intensive talks on both our sets of proposals, rapidly conducted, to determine whether there is common ground to find a solution.

‘Significant changes which tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a durable settlement which commands support in Northern Ireland.’

MORE : EU won’t revise Brexit deal despite dire warning of unrest in Northern Ireland

MORE : Fears over ‘Polexit’ as Warsaw stages unprecedented challenge against EU laws

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Get your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more

Read Source