Brussels rejects Boris Johnson’s call for Irish backstop to be scrapped

Angela Merkel the German chancellor left will meet Boris Johnson in Berlin on Wednesday

Angela Merkel the German chancellor left will meet Boris Johnson in Berlin on Wednesday

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in fact rejects a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland with his rejection of the so-called backstop.

He added: "I think it's a bit paradoxical that the European Union side is talking about us putting up all the barriers, we've made it clear 1,000 times we don't want to see any checks on the Northern Irish frontier at all, under no circumstances let me repeat again, under no circumstances will the Government of the United Kingdom be putting checks on the Northern Irish frontier".

However, Tusk, who ostensibly represents the 27 European Union member states, has reacted angrily to Johnson's demands, reiterating that the backstop is an insurance policy to "avoid a hard border" on the island of Ireland.

Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee has more from Dundalk, near the Irish border.

Brussels poured cold water on Johnson's suggestion in a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk that the controversial Irish border backstop proposal should be dropped by the EU as part of a Brexit deal.

However he said he would enter Brexit talks with "a lot of oomph" and there was "a real sense that something needs to be done" with the backstop.

European diplomats expect little progress on Brexit until the British domestic landscape becomes clearer when parliament returns on September 3 - a point after which the opposition Labour Party has vowed to try to collapse Johnson's government.

He also argued that the backstop risked weakening the delicate balance between pro-Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists embodied by the Good Friday agreement.

The backstop, he argues, should be replaced with a commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period - now the end of 2020 under former PM Theresa May's deal.

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However, the letter doesn't provide a legal, operational solution to prevent the return of a hard border on island of Ireland. "Those who are against it and do not propose realistic alternatives actually support the reintroduction of a border. Even if they do not recognize it".

In January, UK lawmakers backed an amendment by Conservative MP Graham Brady, supported by Theresa May's government, which called for "alternative arrangements" based on technological solutions to replace physical border checks and avoid a hard border.

The Brexit standoff is likely to set the stage for encounters between Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday, and between Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris later this week.

It was another sign that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is bent on leaving the European Union "come what may" at the end of October.

The document showed the effect of a no deal Brexit on the UK.

According to a spokeswoman, the European Commission has the same position as Tusk.

Mr Drakeford also said a leaked cross-government study, which warned of food and medicine shortages, months of disruption at United Kingdom ports and a rise in public disorder in the event of no deal, "reflects" the concerns of the Welsh Government.

He said the best solution was a pledge to put in place arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period, and that this could be agreed as part of a deal on Britain's future relationship with the EU. In a call with Johnson, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar reiterated the EU's position that the Withdrawal Agreement can not be reopened.

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