AFP: During Johnson visit, Merkel voices hope on avoiding Brexit chaos22 August 2019 | 00:02 | FOCUS News Agency
Merkel said perhaps an agreement would be possible within "30 days" for Britain to leave the EU, if a solution could be found to the thorny issue of the Irish border.
The British prime minister has been adamant that he will not accept the "backstop" border plan agreed under his predecessor Theresa May and warned that the UK will exit the EU on October 31, even at the cost of economic turmoil.
The backstop mechanism aims to prevent a "hard border" between Britain's Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, which could revive sectarian tensions. But critics have derided the plan because it would temporarily keep Britain in the EU customs union.
Johnson again stressed his view that the backstop "has grave, grave defects for a sovereign, democratic country like the UK" and added that the provision "plainly has to go".
Merkel said that the mechanism was always meant as a "fallback position" to protect the "integrity of the single market" for the period in which the other 27 EU members and London define their future relationship.
In the search for a solution, she said, "we have said we would probably find it in the next two years, but maybe we can do it in the next 30 days, why not? Then we are one step further in the right direction".
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