July 15, 2016 / 12:58 PM / 3 years ago

Johnson to meet EU foreign policy chief on Sunday

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson addresses staff inside the Foreign Office in London, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Matthews/Pool

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain’s new foreign secretary Boris Johnson will meet EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Sunday evening in Brussels but a planned dinner with Johnson’s EU peers has been cancelled, the European Commission said.

Mogherini, who chairs EU foreign ministers’ meetings, had planned a dinner with all 28 ministers to discuss foreign policy before a breakfast on Monday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

But two diplomats said ministers felt it was inappropriate to have dinner after the attack in France that killed 84 people.

A third diplomat said Johnson’s shock appointment meant few ministers wanted to have dinner with a man who caused deep offence during Britain’s EU referendum campaign by comparing European Union aims to unify Europe to those of Adolf Hitler.

“They will meet on Sunday evening for their first encounter,” Commission spokeswoman Catherine Ray said of Johnson and Mogherini. “There won’t be a dinner on Sunday evening.”

Mogherini and Johnson will have an informal dinner, an EU official said.

Hours after Johnson was appointed this week, France’s foreign minister called Johnson a liar and the German foreign minister described his behaviour as “outrageous”.

On Monday, Johnson is expected to sit down in a formal day-long meeting with his EU peers, with issues on the agenda ranging from EU-China ties to migration policy in Africa.

Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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