Britain on Sunday appealed for respect from the EU leaders, saying they speak of Northern Ireland as if it was not in the UK.
“We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it were somehow a different country from the UK,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, speaking to SkyNews.
“That is not only offensive, it has real world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland – it creates great concern, great consternation.”
Raab’s remarks came on the closing day of the G7 summit in Cornwall, England.
The diplomatic spat between the UK and the EU continued on the sidelines of the summit over the issue of border checks on goods received by Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
“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?” Raab questioned.
“We need a bit of respect here and also, frankly, a bit of appreciation of the situation for all communities in Northern Ireland,” he said.
Raab underlined that the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol had been “very lopsided” and had had “real life effects” on people in Northern Ireland.
“What we cannot have is the continuing disruption of trade and effectively try to change the status of Northern Ireland, contrary to the consent and wishes of the people, which is not just contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol but also to the Belfast Agreement,” he added.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson Saturday urged the EU for “pragmatism and compromise” over the ongoing problems with the Northern Ireland protocol.
Meeting the EU leaders, Ursula Von der Leyen and Charles Michelle, as well as the French president and the German chancellor, Johnson said he was looking for “urgent and innovative solutions” to the problems of the protocol.
A statement from the Elysee Palace said Emmanuel Macron warned Johnson and told him that the British government must “honor their word” over the Brexit deal.
Johnson in his meeting with Merkel “underlined the UK’s position on the Northern Ireland Protocol and the need to maintain both the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the UK.”
The latest war of words between Britain and the EU started last week over ongoing uncertainties over the Brexit regulations related to Northern Ireland.
The latest spat came after David Frost, UK’s Brexit minister, invited the EU officials to show “common sense” and compromise on checks over goods transported to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK – a requisite according to the Northern Ireland Protocol signed last December by both parties.
European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic threatened to retaliate with a ban on selling some products in Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Protocol necessitates border checks on any animal and plant-based products, including frozen meet and processed meat products before their transport to Northern Ireland, which is aligned with the EU rules and regulations.
The protocol creates a de facto trade border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and rest of the UK.
The UK is considering the extension of the grace period, which allowed many of the products into Northern Ireland with relaxed checks, beyond June 30, when it will end.
The EU, however, says a unilateral extension would be a breach to the internationally signed Brexit agreement.
The UK left the bloc on Jan. 31, 2020 as a result of a 2016 referendum that ended the country’s membership to the European club after 47 years.
The agreement signed by the sides included the Northern Ireland Protocol, which practically avoided a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
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