The crown stamp on pint glasses may return to pubs in Northern Ireland despite Brexit treaty restrictions, Brussels said on Tuesday.
The government previously announced that pubs could display the stamp from Friday in time for the 70th anniversary celebrations. But doing the same in Northern Ireland would have risked breaking EU law.
The Northern Ireland protocol means the country, unlike the rest of the UK, follows hundreds of single market rules, including on weights and measures.
However, the European Commission said on Tuesday that EU rules did not prevent the royal symbol from being affixed to a pint in Northern Ireland.
But he warned the crown would not be allowed to be placed on glasses in a way that overshadows the CE marking which shows compliance with EU rules.
“EU legislation does not prevent the affixing of markings to products, as long as they do not overlap or are confused with the CE marking,” a Commission spokesperson said.
The crown stamp will therefore not be permitted to depict any precise measurement in Northern Ireland and may only be used as decoration.
The crown stamp, which dates back to 1699, was dropped in favor of EU CE marking in 2006 after almost three centuries of reassuring drinkers that they weren’t being ripped off by unscrupulous owners.
In Britain, the crown stamp will be displayed alongside the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark, which replaces the CE mark.
The UKCA mark will not be allowed in Northern Ireland under the protocol, which introduced border checks on UK goods entering the province to stop a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
The CE mark, which can still be used in Great Britain until January 1, 2023, must still be used in Northern Ireland.
However, not all pubs in Northern Ireland are likely to choose the Crown Stamp, as deep divisions remain between those who want to stay in the UK and those who want Irish reunification.
“The crown that adorns our pints is a welcome tribute to Her Majesty”
“The Crown stamp may only be symbolic, but it is an important symbol,” said Andrew Bridgen, Conservative Brexiteer MP for North West Leicestershire.
“The crown returning to adorn our pint glasses, across the kingdom, is a welcome tribute to Her Majesty on her Platinum Jubilee and we should all raise a glass to it.”
Separate regulations allowing UK traders to exclusively display Imperial measurements will also not be allowed in Northern Ireland due to the protocol.
Instead, it will continue to follow the 2000 EU rules that allow pounds and ounces provided they are displayed alongside equally important metric measurements.
UK negotiators want the EU to renegotiate the protocol to allow a choice for goods remaining in Northern Ireland to meet UK or EU standards in a dual rule system.
Brussels opposes this on the grounds that it could pose a risk to the single market if UK goods cross the invisible Irish border into the EU.
The UK has threatened to introduce legislation to roll back the protocol if negotiations fail. However, Brussels warns this would risk sparking a trade war and rejects UK claims that the treaty undermines the Good Friday Agreement.