Boris Johnson: EU need to ‘understand UK is a single country’
The international meeting has been subject to a furious Brexit briefing war between Britain and France, with both sides leaking comments to the media about the other’s conduct in a bilateral meeting. Tensions have reached boiling point in recent days over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Britain has been left frustrated by the EU’s implementation of the mechanism, warning excessive customs checks are having a detrimental impact on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
During talks with Mr Macron at the G7 summit, Boris Johnson tried to explain the problems with the Protocol, comparing it to the hypothetical introduction of checks on goods between Toulouse and Paris.
Mr Macron responded by saying there was a difference because Northern Ireland is a separate country to the rest of the UK.
The comments enraged Boris Johnson and led to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab blasting the EU for a lack of “respect”.
Emmanuel Macron told the UK to calm down over Brexit
Holding a press conference after the G7 summit, Mr Macron told the UK to stop getting so irate on the issue.
He said: “I’m doing things very calmly.
“I believe that as far as this subject matter is concerned everybody has got to come back to reason.”
The grace period on checks on chilled goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland are due to expire at the end of the month, with bureaucratic paperwork required on shipments from the start of January.
It means sausages and other products will face extra red tape to be transported across the UK.
The new checks have been the cause of the latest dispute between the UK and EU, with Mr Johnson threatening to unilaterally suspend the introduction of the paperwork.
Emmanuel Macron said there needed to be ‘reason’ in discussions
The French President made his remarks after invoking fury from the UK
“We will do whatever it takes to protect the territorial integrity of the UK,” the Prime Minister said this evening following the conclusion of the G7.
At his own press conference, Mr Macron refused to back down from the EU’s position that the Protocol must be implemented in full.
He said: “My wish, my will is that we succeed – we succeed collectively – to put into operation what we decided upon a few months ago.”
Boris Johnson said the integrity of the UK must be respected by the EU
Doing the media rounds this morning, Mr Raab accused the EU of failing to understand why the Protocol was so detrimental to Northern Ireland.
In a stern warning, he said frictions in trade risked undermining the peace process in the province and could spark a return to clashes between communities.
He told Sky News: “We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK.
“It is not only offensive, it has real world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation.
Dominic Raab accused Mr Macron of being ‘offensive’ with his comments
“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the lander in Germany, northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries? We need a bit of respect here.”
Looking to downplay tensions tonight, Mr Johnson said Brexit had not been discussed in the majority of conversations at the G7.
He added that the elite group had been in agreement on most issues discussed.
“I can tell you that the vast, vast majority of the conversations that we have had over the last three or four days have been about other subjects and there has been a fantastic degree of harmony between the leaders of our countries,” he said.
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