(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson created waves this week when the U.K. prime minister told the press that his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, privately offered to mediate the EU-Britain dispute over the post-Brexit situation in Northern Ireland.
The only problem, according to Rutte, is he never said that.
“I do not agree with what he has said,” Rutte told reporters in the Hague on Tuesday. “The Netherlands will never leave the consensus of the 27, we support the European Commission and he understands that.”
The European Commission is in charge of post-Brexit trade negotiations and any effort by an EU member state to insinuate itself in that process would be a gross break in the bloc’s protocol.
The dispute comes as the EU and the U.K. are locked in negotiations over the terms Britain’s divorce from the bloc. Johnson wants to rewrite the Northern Ireland Protocol, which effectively keeps the region in the EU’s single market and customs union and is a source of frustration for those seeking to reclaim British national sovereignty.
“I have not used the word mediation but I offered to try to foster understanding at both sides,” Rutte said. “What he said went way beyond what I have told him.”
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