Johnson to meet EU’s key players amid Brexit storm
Boris Johnson will meet the European Union’s key players on Saturday as the dispute over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements deepened.
The Prime Minister will hold talks with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen European Council head Charles Michel, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 summit in Cornwall.
Ahead of the talks, No 10 again indicated the UK would be prepared to unilaterally delay the full implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to prevent a ban on chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.
Such a move risks triggering a “sausage war” trade dispute, with the EU threatening to respond to any breach of the deal.
Mr Johnson suggested the EU was taking an “excessively burdensome” approach to post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.
The Prime Minister, who signed the Brexit divorce deal which included the Northern Ireland Protocol, insisted he is not trying to back out of the agreement.
But he said the UK’s “internal market” has to be respected and “we just need to make it work”.
The EU could retaliate against Britain if it fails to implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit “divorce” settlement which Mr Johnson signed.
Restrictions on British-made chilled meats are due to come into force at the end of the month.
The Protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European single market in order to avoid a hard border with Ireland, meaning a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods crossing from Great Britain.
Video: EU chiefs to press UK's Johnson to adhere to N.Ireland protocol (Reuters)