Monday 7 June 2021 8:29 pm

Brexit: PM tells Macron EU and UK must make Northern Ireland protocol work

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today told French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU and UK must find a solution to the Northern Irish Brexit protocol.

The protocol agreed following Britain’s departure from the EU resulted in some checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has a land border with EU member state Ireland.

The protocol has been met with fury by some parts of the unionist community for creating a so-called border in the Irish sea.

Johnson, who had promised there would be unfettered trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, unilaterally extended a grace period on certain checks to minimise supply disruption, a move Brussels has said breached the Brexit divorce deal.

“On the Northern Ireland protocol, the prime minister stressed that both the UK and the EU have a responsibility to find solutions to address the issues with the Protocol,” the prime minister’s spokesperson said following a phone call between Johnson and Macron.

The Brexit tensions have also caused complications over the Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

The deal guaranteed an open Irish land border to help safeguard peace, free trade and travel on the island.

It follows reports US President Joe Biden will urge Johnson not to go back on the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol. 

The pair are set to meet in London on Thursday before they attend the G7 summit in Cornwall at the weekend. 

Biden is expected to signal his country’s support for the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Johnson’s spokesperson said the prime minister and Macron also agreed to work together to avoid any escalation over the issue of fishing access.

Tensions reached boiling point last month when Britain sent two navy vessels close to Jersey in response to French fishing boats threatening to blockade a port.