Johnson’s Push to Scrap Brexit Backstop Makes No-Deal Outcome Most Likely – Irish Deputy PM
Sputnik / Alexey FilippovEurope00:29 22.08.2019Get short URL110
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The attempts of the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, to abolish the backstop solution that entails keeping Northern Ireland in the EU Customs Union make a no-deal Brexit look like the most likely scenario, Ireland’s deputy prime minister said, as cited by media on Wednesday.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister as well as minister of foreign affairs and trade, said Johnson’s position on the Irish backstop abolition is “making a no-deal far more likely,” as quoted by Sky News.
The solution that had been negotiated by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, and the European Union for over two years, would be put into effect if an agreement on all the terms of post-Brexit relations is not reached by the end of the transition period due on December 31, 2020. The prime minister’s position on the backstop is that it is “anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK,” because it could keep the United Kingdom indefinitely in a customs union with Europe.
“There is a reason why Boris Johnson is visiting Berlin today and Paris tomorrow, to try to talk to EU leaders about finding a way forward. I think he will get a very consistent message from EU leaders that the negotiations over the last two to three years are not going to be abandoned now,” Coveney noted, speaking ahead of Johnson’s trip to Europe in the coming days.
Johnson has arrived in Germany on Wednesday for an official visit to discuss Brexit with Chancellor Angela Merkel, which will be followed by a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday. The ongoing uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is likely to be the central theme during the prime minister’s meetings with the two leaders.
The UK prime minister seeks simpler alternative customs arrangements at the Irish border during two years after Brexit, with an unspecified commitment – probably a practical arrangement rather than a complicated treaty – to avoid a hard border on the island.
The United Kingdom was initially supposed to leave the European Union on March 29, but the UK parliament’s failure to approve May’s Brexit deal resulted in the deadline being moved to October 31. May’s failure was what ultimately forced her to resign, paving the path for Johnson to head the new government and take over the Brexit issue.