Boris Johnson to form alliance with “sympathetic” countries against France Politics

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

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

Brussels has offered significant concessions in the face of British threats to activate Article 16 and abolish the protocol, which allowed sausage, food and medicine to travel freely into 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.

Tension comes amid growing hostility for Britain from France and the EU that they will attempt to “punish Britain for Brexit” and French President Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign next year to boost 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 think the “European Union is basically France” is the way Macron might dictate bloc policy, as Germany’s influence waned after Angela Merkel’s departure.

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

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 need to strengthen our loyalty.”

A diplomatic source in a Visegrad country also reported that they looked forward to talks with Johnson in a year in which one of his groups, the Czech Republic, presides over the European Union and considers Great Britain “a valuable ally”. Is.

It is understood they are insisting a meeting be held ahead of the Hungarian elections expected in April, which could boost Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the first EU leader to demand a Brexit outcome be respected. .

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

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

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

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

“I was in Brussels last week and they also have empty supermarket shelves there. This is not Brexit, this is an international problem caused by Covid.”

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