On Friday, June 11, 2021, British Foreign Secretary Dominique Robb said that the unity of the United Kingdom was “negotiable” in response to the firm statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron on post – Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.
“We will not negotiate or compromise the unity and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom, whether it is related to the United Kingdom’s regional, constitutional or United Kingdom unity and economic integrity,” the British Foreign Secretary told Sky News.
London demands greater flexibility for the EU in implementing new customs procedures in Northern Ireland, which is causing tension in the British province.
These measures were negotiated as part of the Brexit agreement signed by Boris Johnson’s government in 2019, but it caused great tension in the British province, disrupted trade with the British Isles and angered trade unionists loyal to the British crown.
Macron said on Thursday that London was “not serious” in reviewing the agreements signed in December 2020. “There is nothing to reconsider,” he said before leaving for Cornwall for the G7 summit.
“I think the ball is on the UEFA court now,” Dominic Robb said. “We understand what the French have said, which should motivate the minds of the commission in Brussels to adopt a more pragmatic and flexible approach,” he said.
The issue was raised at the first meeting on Thursday between US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who adhere to his Irish roots. EU leaders are expected to raise the issue on Saturday during a meeting with Johnson as part of the G7 summit in the UK.
In an interview with the BBC, the Conservative prime minister confirmed that Joe Biden had not mentioned Washington’s dissatisfaction with London’s efforts to reconsider the “Northern Ireland protocol” and denied reports of a split during the 90 – minute talks.
Johnson ended three decades of bloody feuds between pro-British trade unionists and pro-Irish Republicans in 1998, saying “everyone is deeply concerned about ensuring the basic balance of the Good Friday Agreement” from London to the European Union and Washington.
“I think we can accomplish that,” said Boris Johnson, expressing hope the case will be resolved.
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