Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson believe an exit accord could be reached

Updated: Aug 23, 2019, 10:13 IST | Agencies

The differences between the two leaders mainly revolve around the safeguard - or "backstop" - for Ireland

Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson believe an exit accord could be reached
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British PM Boris Johnson shake hands after speaking to journalists at the Chancellery in Berlin. Pic/AFP

Berlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson maintained their respective stances on Brexit, but said that they believe an exit accord can be reached in the end.

The differences between the two leaders mainly revolve around the safeguard — or "backstop" — for Ireland, which would obligate the United Kingdom (UK) to remain a part of the EU Customs Union although it would not define the future relations with the European Union after Britain's exit from the bloc.

"The backstop has always been a fallback option until this issue is solved and one knows how one wants to do that," Merkel said on Wednesday before she discussed the matter with Johnson in Berlin, Efe news reported.

"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?" she added. The Irish government says that maintaining the backstop is a crucial element of any British exit from the EU. Johnson, meanwhile, told Merkel that he wanted a speedily negotiated Brexit deal that does not include the backstop — calling it "undemocratic" — so that the UK can leave the EU with some kind of deal prior to the October 31 deadline.

Will Macron play the 'bad guy'?

Boris Johnson heads to Paris on Thursday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron who is expected to rebuff his last-ditch efforts to renegotiate the UK's withdrawal from EU. Macron has rejected Johnson's calls to scrap a key plank of a deal negotiated between the EU and former British PM Theresa May.

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