Boris meets Macron, Merkel and EU leaders as Brexit threatens to derail G7 summit

Boris Johnson is speaking with key European Union players this morning as the dispute over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade deals threatened to derail his hosting of the G7 summit.

The Prime Minister met French President Emmanuel Macron and will soon have bilateral talks with European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the rally in Cornwall.

The main agenda for the summit will see leaders commit to a new plan to prevent a repeat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leaders from UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy will end the day with a beach barbecue, with entertainment provided by a group of chants of Cornish sailors and a Red Arrows flypast.

But before that, Mr Johnson faces a series of potentially delicate meetings with senior EU officials at the summit.

Downing Street has indicated that the UK would be prepared to unilaterally delay full implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to prevent a ban on chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea from Britain.

Restrictions on UK-produced chilled meats entering Northern Ireland are expected to come into effect at the end of the month.

Delaying these checks without the Brussels agreement risks triggering a “sausage war” trade dispute, with the EU threatening to respond to any violation of the deal signed by the prime minister.

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Aldrich Stanley

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