Brussels 03.12.2022 The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) risked a diplomatic row with the UK by likening Britain’s rule in Ireland to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The EU top executive made the remarks in an address to a joint sitting of the Parliament in Dublin to mark Ireland’s 50-year European Union membership.
‘I would like to dwell on five Irish virtues that will help our union to face our common challenges ahead. First, the Irish passion for freedom. This country knows what it means to struggle for the right to exist” Von der Leyen said.
‘Today, another European nation is fighting for independence. Of course, Ireland is far away from the front line in Ukraine. But you understand better than most why this war matters so much to all of us. Just like our friends in Eastern Europe, you know that in Ukraine there is more at stake than the future of one country alone…’
Her comments threatened to sour relations amid talks over renegotiating the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol trading arrangements.
‘It is an extraordinary thing for Ursula von der Leyen to say, undiplomatic, unwise and wrong’ Former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said.