Boris Johnson infuriated after Emmanuel Macron suggested Northern Ireland was not part of UK
Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron - Andrew Parsons / 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson was furious on Saturday when Emmanuel Macron suggested in direct G7 summit talks that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK.
According to a UK government source, the Prime Minister tried to explain his frustration with the Northern Ireland Protocol by asking Mr Macron what he would do if Toulouse sausages could not be brought to Paris.
The French President reportedly replied that the comparison didn't work because Paris and Toulouse both belonged to the same country, falsely implying that Northern Ireland was not part of Great Britain.
Mr Johnson expressed his amusement at the comment to the aides immediately after the meeting and later hinted at the comment when he told Sky News that some leaders need to "get it into their heads" that Britain is "a single country." " be.
The alleged error arose after early morning talks in Cornwall that Mr Johnson had first with Mr Macron, then with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, followed by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, the President of the European Council , led.
Far from breaking the deadlock on customs controls in Northern Ireland, the bilateral meetings sparked a wave of critical media briefings from all sides.
A source close to Mr Macron said he had told Mr Johnson that there must be "a reorganization of Franco-British relations", but only if "he keeps his word to the Europeans".
Ms. Merkel reportedly said she was open to "pragmatic" solutions to the situation in Northern Ireland, but the protocol itself could not be renegotiated.
Ms. Von der Leyen and Mr. Michel told Mr. Johnson that “the rhetoric about Northern Ireland needs to be toned down” and tweeted, “Both sides need to implement what we have agreed. This is a complete EU entity. "
The Northern Ireland Protocol mandates customs controls on goods traveling from the UK to Northern Ireland to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Mr Johnson is now considering triggering Article 16 of the Protocol within weeks, which unilaterally renounces elements of the agreement.
Next month, under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, customs controls are due to begin on sausages and other chilled meat entering Northern Ireland from the UK.
The UK is threatening not to adopt them as Downing Street's anxious inspections of these and a number of other products risk undermining the integrity of the UK and sparking tension in Northern Ireland.
Speaking of the meeting, a UK government source said: "The Prime Minister said to Mr Macron, 'How would you like it if the French courts prevented you from bringing Toulouse sausages to Paris?"
“He replied that this was not a good comparison since Paris and Toulouse both belong to the same country.
"The Prime Minister replied, 'Northern Ireland and the UK are also part of the same country'. He was quite impressed with how insightful they are on the problem."
In this article:
UK Prime Minister since 2019
President of France
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