Macron fans the flames of Brexit divisions in Ireland by claiming the Northern Ireland Protocol is a matter of ‘‘war and peace’
The French president was accused of trying to sow division last night after he claimed part of the Brexi deal is a matter of ‘war and peace for Ireland’.
The Protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.
The French president was accused of trying to sow division last night after he claimed part of the Brexit deal is a matter of ‘war and peace for Ireland’
The integrity of the Northern Ireland Protocol was vital and it was ‘of existential importance for Europe not to compromise’ over it, Emmanuel Macron said
But unionists have been pressuring for it to be scrapped because of the trade barriers it has created on products crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.
Tensions over the situation led to sectarian violence in Belfast earlier this year.
Mr Macron’s explosive remarks provoked fury in Westminster.
A senior Whitehall source told the Daily Mail that the comments were ‘incendiary and ill-judged’ but not unexpected – and suggested Mr Macron does not grasp the severity of the problems with the agreement.
They said he ‘clearly wants to be incredibly divisive rather than concentrating on solutions that could be reached that would be in the better interests of all the people of Northern Ireland’.
Pointing to reports that Mr Macron had said Northern Ireland was not part of the UK during talks with Boris Johnson over the summer, hanno aggiunto: ‘He clearly does not comprehend the severity or the extent of the challenges at hand and the importance of resolving those as quickly and efficiently as possible.’
Another senior government source said: ‘There is genuine concern and surprise about Macron’s loose language on war and peace on Northern Ireland. Our priority is to protect the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and we hope that Paris understands that.’
The Protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods
According to Irish broadcaster RTE, Il signor Macron ha detto: ‘The Protocol is of existential importance for Europe not to compromise when it comes to our single market, the integrity of that, otherwise there are no longer any rules at the borders.
‘It’s a question of war and peace for Ireland. So we should avoid any temptation to be less than serious.
‘And so I think that we should not play with this issue, but it is an issue that we will deal with in Europe in a united way from day one, whether it’s fisheries, or the Irish agreements, or migration. All of these are issues between the EU and the United Kingdom.’
Mr Macron’s comments, made to an EU advisory body, the European Committee of the Regions, come amid worsening relations between the UK and France.