CARBIS BAY, England, June 13 (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday criticized the European Union for treating Northern Ireland as if it were a separate country rather than part of the UK , and said this approach was causing damage to the British province.
“Various EU figures here in Carbis Bay, but frankly for months and years, have characterized Northern Ireland as a country in its own right and that is wrong. It is a lack of understanding of the facts.” , he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr program.
Raab made his comments amid a dispute between Britain and the European Union over the interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the element of the Brexit divorce agreement that concerns trade in Province.
British newspaper Telegraph reported that French President Emmanuel Macron had suggested that Northern Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom when he met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Group of Seven summit in Carbis Bay, in the southwest of England.
“It is a failure to understand the facts. It is a failure to appreciate what it is to speak around Northern Ireland in these terms, and to address the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol in these terms. terms, is causing damage to businesses in both communities and this creates deep consternation, ”Raab said.
“We wouldn’t be talking about Catalonia and Barcelona or Corsica in France, in that way,” he added.
When asked if Britain and the EU are heading for a trade war, Raab said the bloc must allow free flow of trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
“If the Commission and the EU stick to it,” President Macron’s remarks clearly mark, we can find a pragmatic path, “he said.
“What we cannot have is an unbalanced approach, based on some of the wrong assumptions… and which has very real effects on communities on all sides in Northern Ireland.”
(Reporting by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper editing by Frances Kerry)