EU leaders to force Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland on the G7
Boris Johnson is also facing challenges from European leaders at the G7 summit in Cornwall to resolve a post-Brexit dispute in Northern Ireland, after Britain’s Prime Minister refused to accept a plan to reduce borders in the region in line with EU food regulations.
The leadership of US President Joe Biden wants to reassure Johnson that agreeing to comply with Brussels laws on food and livestock monitoring will not hinder future sales in the UK-US. But Downing Street also says that the idea is not original.
Biden and Johnson discussed Northern Ireland laws in their first face-to-face meeting The Thursday before the G7 three-day conference kicks off on Friday.
The UK president told the BBC that Biden had not spoken out about his concerns at the fourth summit.
But Johnson’s meetings with European leaders at the summit are probably not negotiable. He will meet with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the end of the summit on Saturday.
Mr Johnson will also hold bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel. He met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Friday.
Macron, who appears in London is leading a very difficult line question in Northern Ireland, warned before the G7 that it was “not dangerous” to reopen the Brexit deal.
“I don’t think it’s a problem to want to reconsider in July what we accomplished after years of conflict and work in December,” the French president said at a press conference on Thursday. “This is not a problem between the UK and France, but it is between whites and the UK.”
Although Biden was told by Jake Sullivan, a U.S. security adviser, that he was “deeply concerned” about deep-seated peace in Northern Ireland, the issue did not depend on a meeting between the President and Mr. Johnson, a UK aide, said.
Instead, Britain’s Prime Minister said the relationship between the UK-US was not “special” but “indestructible”, describing Biden’s global presence – four years after Donald Trump’s presidency – as “fresh air”.
The US has been urging Johnson and the EU to agree on how to implement the Northern Ireland approach – part of Johnson’s Brexit agreement on border issues in the region.
The law leaves borders on the island of Ireland – the Republic of Ireland and part of the EU – but imposes checks on certain items from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in case they cross a single EU market.
Vice-President of the Commission Maros Sefcovic also urged Britain this week to ratify the “Swiss” nation, while the UK could join food and agricultural checks in Brussels to reduce the need for border crossings on the Irish Sea ports.
The US has been pushing Britain to accept the request. Yael Lempert, the US ambassador to Britain, asked David Frost, Britain’s prime minister for Brexit, this month to support Washington’s agreement.
He also said that Biden will ensure that “it does not interfere with the free access to the United States and the UK for free trade”, according to a report in Britain at the conference. Downing Street did not deny the existence of the document, but U.S. officials insist that the June 3 exchange was not “too much” in words.
Britain has said it needs to be flexible in implementing its own policies – especially in difficult agricultural areas – in order to reach trade with countries with different standards, especially the US.
But Johnson’s allies said Britain could not accept that it would be forced by Brussels law. “It’s a moral issue,” said one. “We are not following that path.”
British officials have argued that if Britain were to implement agricultural legislation in the EU, it would result in a trade agreement with the US being given the power to allow Americans to attend the U.S. Congress.
But Biden showed little interest in preliminary trade with the UK in any case. “They haven’t talked much about it,” said one official briefly in a Presidential-Johnson interview. “It’s not important to him.”
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