N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
The Northern Ireland Protocol, signed separately from the Brexit trade deal agreed at the end of December last year, is supposed to see checks on goods heading into the province from Britain. But it look like the EU is interpreting the arrangement as a separation between North Ireland and the mainland of Scotland, England and Wales.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab recently demanded already the EU to show more ‘respect for the UK’s territorial integrity’. ‘We have seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it were somehow a different country to the UK’, he said, calling it ‘offensive’ and damaging to the restive province’s communities. ‘Can you imagine if we talked about Corsica and France as different countries?’.
The leader of Northern Ireland’s pro-British Democratic Unionist Party, Edwin Poot, was outraged and demanded that the EU recognises Northern Ireland’s ‘constitutional status’.
The issue was also raised when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on the side-lines of the G7 summit in southwest England last Saturday. Sources said, Macron suggested that because Northern Ireland is separated of the rest of Great Britain, it is not the same territory’.
Boris Johnson was furious, according to the Sunday Times. ‘Northern Ireland and Britain are part of the same country’, he reportedly told Macron.
Anyhow, French President Macron’s pronouncement will be music to the ears of the Corsican independent movement.