German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that a solution to the problem of the Irish border is possible, even before the planned withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union at the end of October.
The so-called backstop was only intended as a transitional arrangement for the not yet definitively settled Ireland issue, Merkel said Wednesday in Berlin during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
So far it has been assumed that a definitive solution will be found in the next two years.
“But you might also find it in the next thirty days. Why not? Then we are a lot further, “Merkel said.
“The backstop has major, major shortcomings for a sovereign, democratic country like the United Kingdom. It simply has to be canceled. ”
Johnson emphasized that the United Kingdom also wants a“ negotiated exit ”from the EU and not an occasional brexit. “Wir schaffen das,” he added, referring to a phrase from Merkel about the refugee crisis.
The backstop provides for the United Kingdom to remain part of a customs union with the EU until another solution is found that makes border controls superfluous. Some of the rules of the European internal market will then continue to apply to Northern Ireland. The Brexit hardliners in Johnson’s Tory party fear that the UK can remain permanently connected to the EU through the backstop. An independent trade policy would thus be impossible.
Merkel has previously promised to discuss “practical solutions” for the Irish border insurance or “backstop”, but she said that Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May would not reopen the brexit deal with the EU.