The EU is to set out proposals later to address the row about trade in Northern Ireland.
The UK wants to change the deal struck as part of the Brexit process to allow goods to circulate more freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It says the current rules impose too many barriers to the sale of chilled meats and other products.
The EU’s proposals, which it calls far-reaching, are expected to involve reduced checks on goods and medicines.
Under the current arrangement, a hard border on the island of Ireland is avoided by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.
But it creates a new trade border with Great Britain which unionists say undermines their place in the UK.
European Commission Vice-President Maros Šefčovič said the new proposals for the Northern Ireland Protocol would be “very far-reaching” and that he hoped they would be seen as such.
The proposals are understood to include a unique deal around agri-food – which includes agriculture, horticulture, and food and drink processing – aimed at sharply reducing the checks on products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
There will also be an arrangement to allow the continued sale of chilled meats from Great Britain in Northern Ireland; these products were facing a ban.
The EU has also said it is going to change its laws in an attempt to solve regulatory issues which are posing a threat to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.
The Irish Republic’s Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, said the proposals reflected “months of hard work, careful listening across Northern Ireland and will deliver practical solutions to make the protocol work better”.
“I hope the UK government is serious about moving on in partnership,” he added.