EU boss rejects UK demand for renegotiation of Brexit deal in call with Boris Johnson

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told Boris Johnson in a phone call that the EU will not renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol as he has demanded.

In a call a day after Brexit Minister David Frost set out proposals for changes to the protocol, Mr Johnson told Ms von der Leyen that the way it is currently being implemented was “untenable”.

But soon after the call, the commission’s president made it clear that Brussels opposes reopening talks on the arrangements agreed by the prime minister as part of his EU withdrawal deal in 2019.

“The EU will remain constructive and flexible within the protocol framework,” she said. “But we will not negotiate again. We must jointly ensure stability and predictability in Northern Ireland.”

The face-off has set the scene for a costly trade war in the autumn, when a “grace period” over the implementation of rules agreed by Mr Johnson in areas such as cold meat exports, parcel delivery and supermarket supply comes to an end.

Downing Street clarified today that the UK has not ruled out breaking protocol if the EU refuses to make concessions over the summer.

A No 10 spokesman said: “We are not calling for an end to protocol at this time.”

Under repeated questioning, the spokesman said Mr Johnson in pointing out any violations by the EU of conditions agreed to the creation of a new customs border in the Irish Sea and the implementation of checks on goods traveling between the British mainland was unable. and Northern Ireland.


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