Emmanuel Macron has been leading criticism towards Boris Johnson and his Government over Britain’s ongoing calls for the Northern Ireland protocol included in the Brexit trade deal to be modified. Clément Beaune renewed demands for the British Government to abide by the agreement struck with the European Union as he warned the row is now turning into a “test for Europe.” Speaking to Europe1, Mr Beaune said: “Mr Johnson thinks he can sign agreements, not respect them and the Europeans won’t react.
“This is a test for Europe.”
The firm comments prompted presenter Sonia Mabrouk to ask: “A test for Europe? Does that mean you can’t exclude a trade war between Britons and Europeans?”
Mr Beaune failed to deny an effective trade war could emerge, saying: “We have said very calmly and very simply – we respect signed agreements.
“We don’t want any favours, it’s not about morality – we have signed an agreement for our fishermen, for Northern Ireland.
JUST IN: ‘Europeans know ALL about UK sovereignty’ Macron in sarcastic rant at Britain in G7 speech
The confrontation came about after the European Union threatened the import of cold cuts such as sausages from Britain into Northern Ireland because of concerns about the lack of sanitary checks on the frontier between the province and the rest of the UK.
During talks with President Macron at the G7 Summit this weekend, Prime Minister Johnson queried how the French president would react if Toulouse sausages could not be sold in Paris markets, echoing London’s accusation that the EU is preventing sales of British chilled meats in Northern Ireland.
Mr Beaune said: “In Northern Ireland, there are sausage import problems…
“Why? Because when you leave the European Union, you have necessarily some (trade) barriers.
Brexit LIVE: Boris humiliates Macron with joke about poor French navy [LIVE BLOG]
Joe Biden to deliver major Brexit trade blow to Boris Johnson [INSIGHT]
Nigel Farage should be honoured for services to Brexit [ANALYSIS]
“I cannot tell the French or the Europeans that Britain can export via (EU member) Ireland some products such as meat without any control.
“That is what it is all about. Brexit has consequences.”
The continuing row over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the agreement – intended to protect the peace process by ensuring there is no return to a hard border with the Republic – overshadowed much of the summit.
Mr Johnson repeated his warning that he could unilaterally delay the latest checks on chilled meats moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – due to come into force at the end of the month – unless there was a resolution to the dispute.
The EU has previous said that its patience is wearing “very, very thin” and had threatened to launch a trade war unless the UK abides by its treaty obligations.