cellcard cellcard cellcard

Merkel, Macron at odds over Brexit compromise

Reuters / Share:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, on Aug. 21, 2019. Xinhua

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday challenged Britain to come up with alternatives to the Irish border backstop within 30 days, but French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned there would be no renegotiation of the Brexit deal.

More than three years after the United Kingdom voted to quit the European Union, it is still unclear on what terms – or indeed whether – the bloc’s second largest economy will leave the club it joined in 1973.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a Brexiteer who won the premiership a month ago, is betting that the threat of “no-deal” Brexit turmoil will convince Merkel and Macron that the EU should do a last-minute deal to suit his demands.

Speaking beside Merkel at the German Chancellery, Johnson repeatedly said that the Irish border backstop – which is a protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement struck by his predecessor Theresa May – needed to be removed in full.

“It was said we will probably find a solution in two years. But we could also find one in the next 30 days, why not?” Merkel, Europe’s most powerful leader, said.

Johnson confirmed that she had given him 30 days to come up with alternatives and said there was ample scope for a deal. The two leaders had a constructive dinner of tuna, venison and chocolate tart, a British source said.

But just an hour after Merkel spoke, Macron said the demands made by Johnson for a renegotiation of the divorce deal, including the removal of the Irish backstop, were not workable as they currently stood. Johnson is due to meet Macron in Paris on Thursday.

Asked about the distance between the positions of London and the other 27 members of the EU, Johnson said: “If we approach this with sufficient patience and optimism, we can get this done. It’s in the final furlong generally when the horses change places and the winning deal appears.”

But with just over 10 weeks left until the scheduled departure, the EU has repeatedly said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement and that it will stand behind member state Ireland.

As Johnson arrived, protesters outside the Chancellery gates shouted “Stop Brexit”. Johnson and Merkel smiled and they joked about the British premier’s German language skills.

Merkel has previously promised to discuss “practical solutions” to the Irish border insurance policy or “backstop” that Johnson says is unacceptable – but she has said the Withdrawal Agreement would not be reopened.

More than three years after the United Kingdom voted to quit the European Union, it is still unclear on what terms – or indeed whether – the bloc’s second largest economy will leave the club it joined in 1973.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a Brexiteer who won the premiership a month ago, is betting that the threat of “no-deal” Brexit turmoil will convince Merkel and Macron that the EU should do a last-minute deal to suit his demands.

Speaking beside Merkel at the German Chancellery, Johnson repeatedly said that the Irish border backstop – which is a protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement struck by his predecessor Theresa May – needed to be removed in full.

“It was said we will probably find a solution in two years. But we could also find one in the next 30 days, why not?” Merkel, Europe’s most powerful leader, said.

Johnson confirmed that she had given him 30 days to come up with alternatives and said there was ample scope for a deal. The two leaders had a constructive dinner of tuna, venison and chocolate tart, a British source said.

But just an hour after Merkel spoke, Macron said the demands made by Johnson for a renegotiation of the divorce deal, including the removal of the Irish backstop, were not workable as they currently stood. Johnson is due to meet Macron in Paris on Thursday.

Asked about the distance between the positions of London and the other 27 members of the EU, Johnson said: “If we approach this with sufficient patience and optimism, we can get this done. It’s in the final furlong generally when the horses change places and the winning deal appears.”

But with just over 10 weeks left until the scheduled departure, the EU has repeatedly said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement and that it will stand behind member state Ireland.

As Johnson arrived, protesters outside the Chancellery gates shouted “Stop Brexit”. Johnson and Merkel smiled and they joked about the British premier’s German language skills.

Merkel has previously promised to discuss “practical solutions” to the Irish border insurance policy or “backstop” that Johnson says is unacceptable – but she has said the Withdrawal Agreement would not be reopened.

Previous Article

Russia, China seek UNSC meet over US missile plans

Next Article

FM Commissioner’s office in HK urges Canada to stop meddling with Hong Kong affairs