German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have reiterated the Brexit with a deal, but they believe in different approaches.
In his first trip abroad since assuming office, Mr Johnson called again for re-negotiations for the Brexit agreement between Britain and the European Union (EU) in order to avoid Britain leaving the bloc without a deal on October 31.
The EU, Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron have repeatedly rejected to renegotiate the Brexit deal with London. The Brexit deal made under Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by the British Parliament.
The most disputed issue is how to prevent a new border controls between the EU member Ireland and British Northern Ireland.
At the joint press conference before the meeting, Mr Johnson said he believed the so-called backstop, an arrangement in the withdrawal deal designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, had “grave, grave defects” and that it, therefore “plainly has to go.”
“But once we get rid of it, if we change it, then I think there is the real prospect of making progress very rapidly indeed,” Mr Johnson added.
Mr Johnson said he was in favour of Britain leaving the EU with a negotiated deal in place, but stressed that he didn’t think his predecessor, Theresa May, had made real alternative proposals to the backstop in order to ensure this happened.
Ms Merkel said the backstop was intended only as a transitional rule for the not finally resolved Ireland issue.
So far, it has been assumed that a final solution will be found in the next two years.
Ms Merkel also emphasised the interest in a “negotiated withdrawal”, but at the same time said that “We are also prepared if such a negotiated withdrawal does not exist”.
“But you might find them in the next 30 days. Why not? Then we’re a long way ahead,” said Ms Merkel.
She added that border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland would become superfluous and that the integrity of the single market could be safeguarded if Britain and the EU re-defined their future relations.
Mr Johnson said that Britain and Germany stood shoulder to shoulder on many international issues, including in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and in the fight against climate change.
The British prime minister is scheduled to visit Paris on Thursday to talk with Mr Marcon.
The two meetings are likely to help form consensus ahead of the G7 summit from August 24 to August 26 in Biarritz in southern France.