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Johnson and Merkel advocate a negotiated Brexit in the absence of clarifying the safeguard for the Irish border

August 21, 2019

BERLIN, Aug 21 (Reuters / EP) –

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have opted to continue speaking for the United Kingdom to leave the EU on October 31 with an agreement in between, although the emergency plan proposed for the border in The island of Ireland ('backstop' in community jargon) remains the main obstacle.

This safeguard was proposed as a safety net to avoid a 'hard' border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event that, at the end of the transition phase after Brexit, the parties had not reached an agreement on the future of this zone.

“The 'backstop' has always been an option of last resort until this matter is resolved,” recalled Merkel, who received Johnson in Berlin on Wednesday. “It was said that we would probably find a solution in two years, but we can also find it in 30 days, why not?”, Said the chancellor.

The British 'premier', who has repeatedly warned that the United Kingdom will leave the EU on October 31 with or without agreement, has pointed out from the German capital that its priority remains the negotiated exit. To do this, he warned, it is necessary that the “undemocratic” safeguard be out of any agreement.

“If we can do it, I am completely sure that we can move forward together,” Johnson said, before a Merkel willing to “listen” to the British proposals but which has made it clear that the EU's priority to “preserve the integrity of the single market “. The chancellor has appealed to the “imagination” to find points in common.

The trip to Berlin is the first that Johnson has been abroad since he took office as prime minister in July. A group of protesters have waited at the doors of the headquarters of the Chancellery to shout out to stop Brexit, a hypothesis that the British 'premier' has already made clear that he does not contemplate.

The EU has ruled out renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed in its day with the Government of Theresa May, as the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, recalled on Wednesday. The president has considered Johnson's requests to reopen the agreement unfeasible, including his requests for backstop.

Thus, Macron has warned that the United Kingdom and not the EU would be responsible for the consequences that a hard Brexit could bring and that they could not be “compensated” for what the United States could offer. “I don't think it's what Boris Johnson wants. I don't think it's what the British people want,” he told reporters.