Emmanuel Macron accused of sowing division with sharp comment on Brexit deal

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Macron fuels the flames of Brexit divisions in Ireland by saying Northern Ireland protocol is about ‘war and peace’

  • Emmanuel Macron said the integrity of the Northern Ireland protocol was vital
  • A senior Whitehall source said the comments were ‘inflammatory and misjudged’
  • He suggested Mr Macron failed to grasp the gravity of the deal’s issues










The French president was accused of trying to sow division last night after claiming that part of the Brexit deal was about “war and peace for Ireland”.

The integrity of the Northern Ireland protocol was vital and it was “of existential importance for Europe not to compromise” on this, said Emmanuel Macron.

The protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single goods market.

The French president was accused of trying to sow division last night after claiming part of the Brexit deal was about “war and peace for Ireland”

The integrity of the Northern Ireland Protocol was vital and it was

The integrity of the Northern Ireland protocol was vital and it was “of existential importance for Europe not to compromise” on this, said Emmanuel Macron.

But unionists have been pushing for it to be removed because of the trade barriers it has created on products crossing the Irish Sea from Britain.

Tensions over the situation led to sectarian violence in Belfast earlier this year.

Mr Macron’s explosive remarks sparked fury in Westminster.

A senior Whitehall source told the Daily Mail the comments were “inflammatory and misjudged” but not unexpected – and suggested that Mr Macron failed to grasp the seriousness of the problems with the deal.

They said he “clearly wanted to divide incredibly rather than focus on solutions which could be found which would be in the best interests of all people in Northern Ireland”.

Highlighting reports that Mr Macron said Northern Ireland was not part of the UK during talks with Boris Johnson over the summer, they added: “He clearly does not understand the seriousness or the extent of the challenges to be met and the importance of resolving them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Another high-ranking government source said: “There is genuine concern and surprise about Macron’s vague language on war and peace in Northern Ireland. Our priority is to protect the Belfast / Friday deal. saint and we hope that Paris will understand it. ‘

The protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods

The protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods

According to Irish broadcaster RTE, Mr Macron said: “The protocol is of existential importance so that Europe does not compromise when it comes to our single market, its integrity, otherwise there is no longer any border rules.

“It’s a matter of war and peace for Ireland. We must therefore avoid any temptation to be less than serious.

“And so I think we shouldn’t mess with this issue, but it’s an issue that we will deal with in Europe in a united way from day one, whether it’s fisheries, the Irish agreements or the migration. All of these issues are between the EU and the UK. ‘

Mr Macron’s comments, addressed to an EU advisory body, the European Committee of the Regions, come against a backdrop of deteriorating relations between the UK and France.

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