Sunday 18 August 2019

Angela Merkel: Backstop could be overwritten if alternative Irish border solution is found

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the annual summer news conference in Berlin
REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the annual summer news conference in Berlin REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the annual summer news conference in Berlin, Germany REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Michelle Martin and Thomas Seythal

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that if Brexit negotiations found a solution for the Irish border issue in the declaration on future ties between Britain and the European Union, the so-called backstop would effectively be overwritten.

The backstop, which is contested by leading British politicians who want it changed or scrapped, requires Britain to adopt some EU rules unless a future arrangement is found to keep open the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"The Withdrawal Agreement is the Withdrawal Agreement," Merkel told a news conference.

"But the moment that a solution for the management of the border is found in (the declaration on) the future relationship - so for the European Union's future ties to Britain - which basically squares the circle - on the one hand I have no physical border but on the other hand the EU Single Market ends - that satisfies both questions, then the backstop will be overwritten, so to speak."

Merkel added: "This means the task is to draft future relations that way and perhaps to draft them more specifically and better and more precisely than so far."

Then there is scope to come to an agreement and determine future relations, Merkel said.

Opposition to the backstop within Britain's deeply divided parliament was one of the key reasons outgoing Prime Minister May's deal was rejected three times by lawmakers - losses that ultimately forced her to resign.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the annual summer news conference in Berlin, Germany
REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the annual summer news conference in Berlin, Germany REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Reuters

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