German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Iceland | Halldor Kolbeins/AFP via Getty Images
Merkel: No need to reopen Brexit deal to tackle Irish border
‘It’s a question of the future relationship,’ German chancellor says.
Updated 8/20/19, 6:40 PM CET
The EU will consider “practical” solutions for the Irish border after Brexit, but this does not mean re-opening the Withdrawal Agreement, Angela Merkel said Tuesday.
“As soon as we have a practical arrangement where we can abide by the Good Friday Agreement and also define the borders of the [EU’s] single market, we won’t need the backstop,” Merkel said at a press conference during a visit to Iceland.
“That means we will, of course, think about practical solutions, and I always say that if you want to find these solutions, you can do so in a short period of time,” she said. “The European Union is ready to do this, but we don’t need to open up the Withdrawal Agreement. It’s a question of the future relationship.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to the EU on Monday to scrap the so-called backstop mechanism for the Irish border within the Withdrawal Agreement reached between his predecessor Theresa May and EU leaders. European Council President Donald Tusk responded Tuesday by shooting down his proposals, saying that anyone “not proposing realistic alternatives” to the backstop does “in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.”
Tusk argued the backstop “is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found.”