Dominic Raab says Emmanuel Macron attitude to Northern Ireland is ‘offensive’ – British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says it is “offensive” that the French president has depicted Northern Ireland as “somehow a separate country” to Britain.
His remarks were reportedly made by Emmanuel Macron that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK during the G7 summit.
This was in response to Boris Johnson saying how he would feel if sausages from Toulouse could not go to Paris.
An Elysee source said Mr Macron was talking about a “geographical area”.
He told Live Times media: “President Macron said that Northern Ireland is on an island. And Toulouse and Paris were in the same geographic area.
Dominic Raab says Emmanuel Macron attitude to Northern Ireland is ‘offensive’
“President Macron wanted to emphasize that the situation was very different and serious and that it was not fair to make such comparisons.”
But Dominic Raab said Northern Ireland’s sense of separation from the rest of Britain had been expressed by the EU “years ago”.
He told Live Times Media’s Andrew Marr program that it was a “failure on the part of the EU to understand the facts” about Northern Ireland and that it caused “great damage” to businesses and communities.
This comes amid ongoing problems with the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
The policy was designed to ensure that a border on the island of Ireland would not be introduced to protect the Good Friday Agreement – and to see that Northern Ireland would continue to comply with many of the EU’s rules on trade.
But as a result, it created a regulatory limit in the Irish Sea, which led to additional checks on all goods transferred between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The entry into force of a post-Brexit trade deal introduced so-called “grace periods”, allowing goods to trade as usual while people adjusted to the new way of doing things.
But as it stands, controls on cold meat products such as sausage and mince will be introduced from July – unless the UK agrees to match EU standards on its products, allowing them to enter Northern Ireland. will be effectively banned from doing so.
The UK has already unilaterally extended some grace periods – leading to legal action from the EU.
But Ireland’s Taoiseach (Irish PM) Michael Martin warned it would be “very problematic” if the UK did the same thing again, telling Sky News it would strain relations.
He added: “It’s not about sausage per se, it’s really about the fact that an agreement was reached not too long ago and if there is a persistent, unilateral deviation from that agreement, which is clearly the EU and the US.” It undermines the wider relationship between the United Kingdom, which is not in anyone’s interest.”