FALMOUTH: Britain is accusing European Union of holding the "offensive" view that Northern Ireland is not fully part of the United Kingdom, as Brexit continues to cast a shadow over the Group of Seven summit.
Britain and the EU are in a spat over post-Brexit trade arrangements that could see British sausages banned from entering Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that borders the 27-nation bloc.
The dispute is raising political tensions in Northern Ireland, where some people identify as British and some as Irish.
British media are reporting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked French President Emmanuel Macron when they met at the summit in Carbis Bay, England, how he would feel if sausages from Toulouse could not be moved to Paris.
They said Macron replied the comparison did not work because Paris and Tolouse were part of the same country.
The French presidency did not deny Macron had made the comments.
It said he meant "that Toulouse and Paris were on a geographical unity of territory, Northern Ireland is on an island. The president wanted to stress that the situation was quite different and that it's not appropriate to hold that kind of comparison."
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the idea Northern Ireland was not an integral part of the UK was "not only offensive, it has real world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation."