Johnson's opening Brexit bid lands flat with EU leaders
Johnson's opening Brexit bid lands flat with EU leaders
20 August, 2019, 16:59
But European Council president Donald Tusk defended the measure and warned that those seeking to replace it would risk a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Officials in Brussels privately accused Mr Johnson of making "incorrect" and "misleading" claims about the situation.
Mr Johnson wrote that the backstop is "simply unviable" and "anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the United Kingdom as a state".
"PM Johnson indicated Brexit deal in current form will not get through the parliament and said that Irish backstop must be removed", the statement read.
However, Natasha Bertaud - spokesperson for the EU Commission - said the letter doesn't provide a legal operational solution to prevent a hard border on Ireland.
British prime minister has reportedly told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the Common Travel Area will remain in place after Brexit.
Mr Johnson will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday and France's Emmanuel Macron on Thursday for his first face-to-face talks with Europe's key powerbrokers.
Italy premier Conte says to offer resignation Britain isn't the only country with the threat of a no-confidence motion bringing down the Government. If a new coalition government is not agreed, it could force fresh elections.
The document, seen by the PA news agency, disputes Mr Johnson's claims about the Good Friday Agreement and the Irish border.
Telephone talks of almost an hour on Monday evening with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar failed to yield any obvious breakthrough, with Varadkar's office issuing a statement afterwards insisting the withdrawal agreement containing the backstop can not be changed.
Despite discussions on "alternative arrangements" between Brussels and London, the European Union does not see them as a viable option, at least for now, as the necessary technology is not available yet.
According to a spokeswoman, the European Commission has the same position as Tusk.
They suspect that parliament may block it, or that the process may be held up by a snap British election. "Varadkar agreed their teams would maintain close contact over coming weeks, agreed to meet in Dublin in the early September".
"The CTA was recognized in the EU-UK negotiations and there is agreement in the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, that Ireland and the UK may "continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories", says the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a note posted on its website.
US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning that Congress could work on a cross-party basis to block a deal.
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