British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed on Tuesday that Brussels’ backstop Plan is “anti-democratic” and “unviable” so it must be abandoned. “It is anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK as a state,” wrote Johnson on a 4-page letter directed to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, adding that the backstop deal is incompatible with Britain’s “desire final destination for a sustainable long-term relationship with the EU,” and that it compromises the Good Friday Agreement.
The Backstop Plan has the express goal of avoiding a hard border, but detractors argue that it undermines the Northern Irish peace process. The EU has long insisted that the Backstop is a critical part of the process that cannot be abandoned or changed.
Johnson proposed to remove the Backstop from any future withdrawal agreement, calling for “flexible and creative solutions” and “alternative arrangements” to evade a hard border.
“Time is very short. But the UK is ready to move quickly, and, given the degree of common ground already, I hope the EU will be ready to do likewise,” he wrote, “I am equally confident that Parliament would be able to act rapidly if we were able to reach a satisfactory agreement which did not contain the backstop,” he added.
Some Irish sources rejected Johnson’s arguments, highlighting the importance of the Backstop to guarantee that there won’t be problems between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland right after the Brexit takes place.
“Unless and until there are viable alternatives, the need for the backstop insurance policy is clear,” said a senior Irish source,
Johnson himself spoke with the Irish leader Taoiseach Leo Varadkar right before delivering the letter, and it seems that Varadkar reiterated the European Union’s refusal to reopen the withdrawal agreement.
“There was a two and a half year negotiating process in which the EU compromised, including on the question of the backstop,” said a Brussels source, “The withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation and the backstop is not open for change. A legally operable backstop to avoid a hard border remains central to the withdrawal agreement for the EU27,” it added.
The UK is Leaving the EU Regardless
Johnson insists that the UK will leave the European Union with or without a deal, though he claimed that the chances of a no-deal Brexit are very low.
About this topic, Johnson recently commented that the UK is also getting ready to leave the Union by October 31.
“We are ready to work with our friends and partners to get a deal. But if you want a good deal for the UK, you must simultaneously get ready to come out without one,” posted Johnson on his Twitter account, after blasting Labour PM Jeremy Corbyn, while accusing him of trying to “cancel the referendum” and “argue about Brexit for years”.
In the meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed his unconditional support to the UK. “We talked about Brexit and how we can move rapidly on a US-UK free trade deal,” posted Donald Trump on his Twitter account, adding that he looks forward to meeting with Johnson on the next G7 summit, which is taking place in France at the end of August.