‘You should be able to understand it!’ Von der Leyen’s aide sparks fury for patronising UK

G7: Expert discusses Boris Johnson’s meetings with EU leaders

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Following a bilateral meeting with Boris Johnson on Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that Britain must “implement what we agreed on”. An aide to the EU chief told Channel 4 News that the tweet “was in English so that the British can understand it”. The patronising remark comes after Emmanuel Macron accused Northern Ireland of not being part of the UK as Brexit tensions erupt.

Channel 4’s Jonathan Rugman said: “The Presidents of the EU Commission and Council didn’t speak on camera in an attempt to tone down the rhetoric.

“But Ursula von der Leyen tweeted to implement the Brexit agreement.

“One of her officials told me that it was written in English so that British should have understood it.”

This insult as tensions soar between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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On Saturday, the French President Emmanuel Macron was accused of claiming Northern Ireland is a separate country to the United Kingdom in a tense bilateral meeting with Boris Johnson.

This remark left the Prime Minister astounded, as he raged that “the UK is a single country and a single territory” and the EU “just need to get that into their heads”.

Mr Rugman also said of yesterday’s meeting: “If the Prime Minister looked pensive, it was because he knew his meeting with the French leader would be the summit’s most awkward.

“Mr Macron told his host that the Franco-British relationship needs a reset – an indication of how poor relations are.

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“Mr Johnson told him that a compromise over the Northern Ireland Protocol needed to be agreed quickly.

“Germany’s Chancellor is usually more diplomatic than Mr Macron but this row over border checks is so serious that it includes threats of EU tariffs on British exports if it isn’t resolved.

“Mr Johnson told Merkel that border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK challenged British sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“But the EU insisted it was a question of the Prime Minister sticking to the terms of the deal he agreed.”


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Mr Johnson has warned customs checks on goods introduced on goods travelling to Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea effectively places a border throughout the United Kingdom.

A UK source says the Prime Minister tried to explain the issues by asking Mr Macron to imagine checks on goods travelling from Toulouse to Paris.

The French President is said to have responded by saying the issue was different as Toulouse and Paris were one country.

Mr Johnson was left shocked and staggered at the ignorance, raging to the media afterwards “the UK is a single country and a single territory” and the EU “just need to get that into their heads”.

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