Johnson to meet Ireland's Varadkar over Brexit

The meeting is likely to take place before the G7 Summit this month, but no date has been scheduled yet

Photo: EPA British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted an offer to meet Irish leader Leo Varadkar to discuss Brexit and the Northern Irish backstop, the Sunday Telegraph said citing UK government sources. The Telegraph said it was hoped the meeting between Johnson and Varadkar to take place before the G7 summit in France later in August.

“The UK has accepted Varadkar’s offer to meet and dates are being discussed,” a UK source told the newspaper.

Johnson has told the EU that there is no point in new talks on a withdrawal agreement unless negotiators are willing to drop the Northern Irish backstop agreed by his predecessor Theresa May. The EU however has so far refused to reopen the divorce deal it agreed with May, which includes the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland. May’s agreement, rejected three times by the British parliament, also says the United Kingdom will remain in a customs union “unless and until” alternative arrangements are found to avoid a hard border.

Because of Brussels hard stance on the matter, the British PM has stepped up preparations to leave without a divorce agreement if Brussels refuses to renegotiate, prompting some lawmakers to suspect a no-deal Brexit is his goal. The move is part of Johnson's promise that Britain will leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal.

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