EU’s von der Leyen to meet King Charles after new Brexit deal

London, Feb 27 (EFE).- European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is to meet King Charles III at Windsor Castle on Monday.

Von der Leyen will meet the United Kingdom’s monarch in Windsor for tea on the same day she and prime minister Rishi Sunak are expected to sign a Northern Ireland protocol agreement for a new Brexit deal.

“The King is pleased to meet any world leader if they are visiting Britain and it is the Government’s advice that he should do so,” a palace statement said.

Buckingham Palace said the King and von der Leyen would be discussing a “range of topics” including the climate crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The reception will take place after Sunak and the EC chief sign off on an agreement on the controversial Northern Ireland Brexit protocol, after months of protracted negotiations.

The meeting however has sparked the fury of many critics who have accused the PM of politicizing the palace.

Sunak needs the backing of both his Tory MPs and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for any protocol reforms to flourish.

The DUP has been a vociferous critic of the current deal saying it has affected trade in the region and undermined its position within the UK.

“I cannot quite believe that No10 would ask HM the King to become involved in the finalising of a deal as controversial as this one. It’s crass and will go down very badly in Northern Ireland,” Arlene Foster, former DUP leader and former first minister of Northern Ireland tweeted.

“We must remember this is not the King’s decision but the Government who it appears are tone deaf,” she added.

The British government believes that the new deal will solve trade and political issues between the UK and Northern Ireland that have emerged as a result of Brexit.

The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed upon under former prime minister Boris Johnson during Brexit talks and came into force in 2021.

The current arrangement allows Northern Ireland to continue under some European Union laws to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, meaning goods can move across the border with no checks.

However, the controversial protocol imposes border controls on the trade of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Avoiding a land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a complex and sensitive issue and was pivotal to the implementation of the Good Friday peace deal which put a tentative end to 30 years of violence in 1998. EFE


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