In the midst of the Brexit drama, Johnson will meet with important EU stakeholders.
On Saturday, Boris Johnson will meet with senior European Union figures as the row over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit commercial arrangements heated up.
At the G7 summit in Cornwall, the Prime Minister will meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
No 10 signaled again ahead of the discussions that the UK would be willing to unilaterally postpone full implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to avoid a restriction on chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea from the UK.
Such a move risks sparking a trade war, with the EU threatening to retaliate if the agreement is broken.
Mr Johnson claimed that the EU was making post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland “excessively burdensome.”
The Prime Minister reiterated that he is not seeking to back out of the Brexit divorce deal, which includes the Northern Ireland Protocol.
However, he stated that the UK’s “internal market” must be respected, and that “all we have to do now is make it work.”
If Britain fails to execute restrictions on goods entering Northern Ireland as part of the Brexit “divorce” agreement signed by Mr Johnson, the EU could respond.
Restrictions on chilled meats prepared in the United Kingdom are set to take effect at the end of the month.
To avoid a hard border with Ireland, the Protocol essentially retains Northern Ireland in the European single market, resulting in a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods passing from the United Kingdom.
“You will appreciate that there are means of implementing the Protocol, ways of making it operate, that may be overly burdensome,” Mr Johnson told the BBC.
“Let me offer you one statistic: Northern Ireland today conducts 20% of all EU border checks, three times the number that occur in Rotterdam.”
The new post-Brexit arrangements took effect on January 1, and the disagreement continues, but Mr Johnson asserted, “I think we can.” (This is a brief piece.)