EU’s Šefčovič: I’ll do everything to avoid a Brexit ‘sausage war’

The U.K. needs to offer up a “roadmap” in Brexit talks that can put to rest a dispute over chilled meat exports to Northern Ireland, the European Commission’s pointman on the talks, Maroš Šefčovič, said in an interview.

Speaking to POLITICO’s EU Confidential Podcast on the sidelines of the Globsec conference in Bratislava late last week, Šefčovič — dubbed the “sausage king” in Westminster due to his role enforcing the Northern Ireland protocol’s clause on chilled meats — says he needs clarity from the Brits.

“We should just respect the deals we have signed,” Šefčovič said. “We just want to have more predictability and stability in our relationship and not have this perpetual discussion product-by-product.”

“It’s not easy to spend four years in super detailed negotiations where every line took days, weeks, and sometimes months to negotiate … and then you see one breach after another,” said Šefčovič of the U.K.’s conduct.

The veteran Slovak commissioner previously moderated politically explosive talks between Russia and Ukraine over gas supply, but is now asking EU countries to approve a three-month extension to a deadline on chilled meat exports from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to head-off a “sausage war.”

“As a sausage king I definitely do not want a sausage war,” said Šefčovič. “I’m ready to do everything to prevent it.”

In a blow to makers of chorizo, Toulouse and bratwurst bangers across Europe, Šefčovič told EU Confidential that his favorite sausage is the nitran from his native Slovakia.

“I’m not a big expert in British sausage I’m afraid,” he said.

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