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‘Only Putin will be happy’: Poland slams Britain’s ‘dividing’ Europe over Northern Ireland Protocol

Poland’s prime minister has slammed Britain’s renewed struggle with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol during the war in Ukraine, saying “only Putin will be happy.”

“United we are strong, divided we are very weak,” Mateusz Morawiecki warned, urging both sides to “compromise” rather than risk a damaging trade war.

The warning is potentially embarrassing for Boris Johnson, who sees Poland’s right-wing government as a key ally in a changing Europe looking to outperform the EU’s two big nations, Germany and France.

The criticism also weakens a key argument for the prime minister remaining in 10th place despite the Partygate scandal – that his resignation would weaken the fight against Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The UK is set to introduce legislation next month to tear up key parts of the protocol, risking trade retaliation for what the EU sees as a violation of international law.

Not only would it abolish border controls in the Irish Sea, but it would also target the role of the European Court of Justice in overseeing disputes and restore the UK’s ability to decide VAT rates.

Mr Morawiecki told the BBC: “Trade wars are a lose-lose situation. Poland wants to be the strongest possible partner for Great Britain – we want to work towards a compromise.

“Only Putin and our enemies will be happy to see another disagreement between such close partners as the UK and the European Union.”

Mr Morawiecki said he was trying to “calm down the situation between France and the UK as much as possible” and pointed to perhaps the main opponent of the UK’s unilateral move.

Urged on the UK’s threat to tear up the Brexit deal, he added: “Particularly in the current circumstances where we are having such a brutal invasion, this should be a wake-up call for those who wish to disagree on anything .”

The UK argues that legislation is needed to remove the Irish Sea trade border and persuade the Democratic Unionist Party to end its boycott of power-sharing at Stormont.

The EU insists it has put forward proposals to ease the burden of controls, noting the UK’s refusal to align itself with common veterinary rules to reduce the need for much of the red tape

Last week Mr Johnson admitted he had endorsed the trade barriers created by the Northern Ireland Protocol – and said he hoped the EU would not ‘apply’ them.

The legislation has not yet been published but is expected to be published within weeks – and could be voted through the House of Commons as early as next month.

Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, insisted there should be no relegation ahead of a meeting with Ireland’s Taoiseach on Wednesday.

Dublin must choose whether to “uphold the fundamental principles of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement” or support a protocol “that undermines all of this”. He added, “You can’t have both.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/northern-ireland-protocol-poland-putin-b2086296.html ‘Only Putin will be happy’: Poland slams Britain’s ‘dividing’ Europe over Northern Ireland Protocol

Bobby Allyn

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