EU countries ‘under bloc’s thumb’ Britons mock Dutch diplomat denial of Boris trade talks

Northern Ireland Protocol threatens peace agreement says expert

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One Express.co.uk reader, Leytonman, commented: “Hold on a second. I thought all these EU countries were still sovereign and not under the EU’s thumb.

If that’s the case what harm is there talking to elected governments.”

Another user, Brian at home, said: “The EU should spend more time working to solve the NI problem instead of exasperating it.”

Another Express.co.uk reader, BishopK, said: “Boris is likely no more fond of banging his head against a brick wall than anyone else, and trying to get the EU to see sense, is just another way of creating a headache.”

The UK Prime Minister claims that Dutch diplomat Mark Rutte offered help in negotiating over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Johnson was previously told to stop holding talks with individual EU countries.

He was attempting to break the stalemate which has developed over trade routes in Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson says that Mr Rutte extended this offer during a Downing Street meeting last week, yet other Dutch politicians contest this.

Dutch diplomats urged Mr Johnson to work with the European Commission to end the uncertainty surrounding Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit future.

A senior diplomat in the Netherlands told Express.co.uk: “The prime minister called on Boris Johnson to be constructive, pragmatic and engage with the Commission.

“Both the UK and EU share the responsibility to make the protocol, as negotiated and ratified on both sides of the Channel, work for the people in Northern Ireland.”

Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson said: “I talked to Mark Rutte the other night who wanted to come and see if he could mediate on the issue and I said you know we really want to make progress.

We seek a solution, but it has to be one that allows the free movement of goods between all parts of our country.”

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He added: “You all know the issues with Northern Ireland.

“I hope everybody knows this isn’t something that the UK government is trying to stoke up for our own political purposes.

“On the contrary, we want to fix this, we want common sense.

“We want no barriers in the UK for trading in our country and it’s crazy at the moment that we’ve got the protocol being enforced or being used in the way that it is.”

Mr Johnson also stressed that the “current situation cannot go on forever.”

Lord Frost, the UK’s Brexit Minister, reiterated that the current Northern Ireland Protocol was not sustainable because of its impact on British businesses.

The current Northern Ireland Protocol is the Brexit agreement which stops the need for checks along the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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