On Wednesday, Britain’s newly elected prime minister, Boris Johnson, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to strive for a negotiated departure of Britain from European Union. Merkel’s attitude to the disputed Irish border issue let optimism seep in, boosting the hoping for a new deal as she said that an alternative solution to Irish border could be found within 30 days.
Merkel said, “The backstop has always been a fall-back option until this issue is solved. It was said we will probably find a solution in two years. But we could also find one in the next 30 days, why not?”
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin alongside Johnson, German Chancellor said that the it is up to Britain to come up with a realistic and a workable plan. She added that the alternative solution should also provide “absolute clarity” on the future course of relation between the UK and the EU, post-Brexit.
Johnson was happy and stressed at the same time as the onus of presenting a workable solutions with a hard-pressed deadline falls on him. He said, “You rightly say the onus is on us to produce those solutions, those ideas, to show how we can address the issue of the Northern Irish border and that is what we want to do.”
He sounded hopeful that there was “ample scope” for a new deal to be reached.
Johnson has a lot on his plate as what could not be achieved by his predecessors in years now needs to be done within 30 days.
At the news conference, British prime minister said, “There are abundant solutions which are proffered, which have already been discussed.” Without giving out much details, he added, “I don’t think, to be fair, they have so far been very actively proposed over the last three years by the British government.”
Johnson has been pushing for the Irish border backstop clause to be taken out and replaced with “alternative arrangements” to govern the cross-border trade. If not a big win, it is definitely one step in the positive direction for UK.