Johnson met Macron on Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in southwest England, with Brussels angry at Britain’s failure to implement border controls on the goods.
A source in Macron’s office said he explained to Johnson in no uncertain terms that the UK should ‘keep its word’ and abide by the terms of the deal it signed with the European Union last December. .
Other European leaders attending the summit, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, are expected to deliver the same message.
The dispute over the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, agreed separately from the Brexit divorce deal, marked the G-7 summit in Cornwall.
The Times reported that US President Joe Biden ordered US diplomats to reprimand London for threatening peace in the British province by failing to implement border controls.
Macron also lambasted the UK and said he was “not serious about wanting to review, in July, what we finalized after years of work in December”.
“I believe in the power of treaties. I believe in seriously. Nothing is renegotiable. Everything is applicable, ”he said Thursday in Paris.
Britain has repeatedly called for more flexibility and pragmatism on the part of the EU, given Northern Ireland’s violent past and its fragile current peace.
Under the protocol, checks are supposed to be carried out on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from mainland Britain – England, Scotland and Wales.
This is to prevent uncontrolled goods from entering the single European market and the customs union, which the United Kingdom left this year, via Northern Ireland’s neighbor, Ireland, EU member state.
But pro-British Unionist communities in Northern Ireland oppose the protocol, arguing that the controls are driving a wedge between the province and the rest of the UK
Controls have been suspended after threats against port staff and violence in recent months, while London has said it may extend a grace period on chilled meat products at the end of this month.
The European Commission has threatened retaliation, including targeted tariffs, if it does, sparking discussions in the British press of a “sausage war” with Europe.
Johnson downplayed any breakup after talks with Biden on Thursday, insisting the US president had not sounded the alarm on the matter.
He said there was “absolutely common ground” of all parties to uphold the historic 1998 peace agreement that ended three decades of violence against British rule in Northern Ireland.