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Merkel open to discuss Brexit 'backstop' solution

Merkel open to discuss Brexit 'backstop' solution
German Chancellor rules out renegotiating UK’s EU withdrawal agreement, but calls for 'practical solutions'

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) - Germany's chancellor on Tuesday ruled out renegotiating the U.K.’s EU withdrawal agreement, but called for "practical solutions" to address concerns over the contentious "backstop" mechanism.

Speaking at a joint news conference with leaders of Nordic countries following their meeting in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, Angela Merkel underlined the unity of the EU’s 27 member states on Brexit, arguing that there was no need to reopen the withdrawal agreement.

"Once we have a practical solution to ensure that the [Irish] Good Friday Agreement continues to apply, then we don’t need the backstop of course. Which is to say, we will think about practical solutions," she said.

The backstop is a safety measure that ensures open borders between Northern Ireland -- which is part of the U.K. -- and the Republic of Ireland, if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal this year.

Britain's Parliament has repeatedly rejected the Brexit deal concluded by previous Prime Minister Theresa May, as many lawmakers argued that the backstop arrangement could force the U.K. to follow EU rules for an indefinite time.

Current premier Boris Johnson on Monday asked the EU to scrap the Irish border backstop arrangement, arguing that it is "anti-democratic" and it would undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Johnson is scheduled to visit Berlin on Wednesday for talks with the German Chancellor in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock.

The British prime minister has repeatedly stated that he would take the U.K. out of the EU by Oct. 31 with no exceptions and that although he is confident in negotiating a deal with Brussels, he was also making preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

source: News Feed
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