Boris Johnson joins forces with “sympathetic” countries against France

The move came as Foreign Office sources told the Sunday Express Britain was linking up with more sympathetic EU countries amid growing hostility to France. A strong relationship with Visegrad 4 (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) could build on UK support for Polexit and the efforts of the other three countries to assert sovereignty over the EU. A key source close to Foreign Minister Liz Truss joked: “Maybe we should create a consultative unit on leaving the EU.

It has also emerged that talks between Lord Frost and the European Union to replace the controversial Northern Ireland protocol will continue next week.

Brussels offered significant concessions in the face of British threats to activate Article 16 and abolish the protocol, which allowed sausages, food and medicine to travel freely to Northern Ireland from the rest of the world. Giving is included.

But other changes, including the EU’s requirement that its own European Court be the final arbiter of any dispute.

The tension comes amid growing hostility to Britain from France and the EU that they will attempt to “punish Britain for Brexit” and the election campaign. French President Emmanuel Macron next year to strengthen his government’s anti-British stance. not available. .

A source close to Ms Truss noted that she had not spoken to the French foreign minister at the Tory summit last month since her appointment in September.

Ms Truss is said to believe that “the European Union is fundamentally France” is how Macron might dictate bloc policy, as Germany’s influence waned after Angela Merkel left.

The EU complained about her speech at the conference for “not naming her” or even prioritizing her, but Ms Truss was described as “very relaxed about what she thinks”. East.

The source added: “She talks a lot with the Baltic States [Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia] and Visegrad 4. They seem to be much more receptive and friendly. We must strengthen our loyalty.

A diplomatic source in a Visegrad country also said they looked forward to talks with Johnson in a year in which one of his groups, the Czech Republic, would chair the European Union and consider the Great Britain “a precious ally”. East.

It is understood that they are insisting that a meeting be held before the Hungarian elections due in April, which could stimulate Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the first EU leader to demand respect for the Brexit results. .

Following a dispute over the Polish Constitutional Court, which challenged the Brussels ruling that national law trumps EU law, other countries are preparing to extend their borders to Visegrad 4 and elsewhere in the EU.

The crisis has given rise to speculation that Poland could leave the European Union while others seek to end Brussels’ primacy over their national laws.

The diplomatic source insisted: “We are awaiting the verdict in Austria, which has a similar case and which could be very important.”

The source also ridiculed claims by EU leaders that the UK’s problems with supply chains and truck drivers are due to Brexit.

“I was in Brussels last week and there are also empty supermarket shelves there. It’s not Brexit, it’s an international problem caused by Covid.

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