After Britain’s top diplomat accused the EU of taking a ‘bloody’ approach to relations, Johnson also met with bloc leaders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel , at the seaside resort of Carbis Bay where the G-7 leaders gather.
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The two sides are locked in a growing diplomatic row over Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK to have a land border with the bloc. The EU is angry at Britain’s delay in implementing new controls on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, required under Britain’s divorce from the bloc. Britain says checks place a heavy burden on business and destabilize hard-won peace in Northern Ireland.
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The feud has drawn US President Joe Biden, who is concerned about the potential threat to the Northern Ireland peace deal.
Von der Leyen tweeted after meeting Johnson that peace in Northern Ireland was ‘paramount’ and that the binding Brexit deal protected it.
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“We want the best possible relationship with the UK. Both parties must implement what we have agreed to. There is complete European unity on this, ”she said.
The EU threatens legal action if the UK does not fully carry out the checks, which include a ban on chilled meats such as sausages from England, Scotland and Wales going to Northern Ireland from next month.
He says Britain must fully implement the agreement, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, which both sides have agreed and ratified.
Britain accuses the bloc of taking a rigid approach to the rules and urged it to be more flexible in order to avoid what has been dubbed a ‘sausage war’. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Saturday that if the EU continues to take a ‘bloody and purist’ approach, Britain should act to protect ‘the integrity of the UK’
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Johnson spokesman Max Blain said the UK wanted the protocol to work, but needed “radical changes”.
British officials say the issue is unlikely to be resolved at the G-7 summit, which ends on Sunday. But Blain said the two sides agreed to keep talking.
Johnson “wants the EU to work with him to find an urgent compromise,” he said.