Trump, in phone call, congratulates Johnson on becoming British PM

Andrew Cummings
July 27, 2019

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose heavily trade-dependent nation stands to lose most from a messy EU-UK split, repeated his call for compromise on Thursday.

"We are not reopening the withdrawal agreement. but we have shown reasonableness and flexibility in the past".

Johnson on Thursday told British lawmakers he has urged the European Union to "rethink" its opposition to renegotiating a deal worked out with his predecessor Theresa May that he has called unacceptable.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump have discussed the "unparalleled" trade opportunities offered by Brexit in telephone talks. The EU had to be ready for Johnson giving "priority" to planning for a no-deal exit, "partly to heap pressure on the unity" on the remaining 27 member states, he added.

But in a sign of wariness about Johnson's anti-EU rhetoric, France's Europe Minister Amelie de Montchalin urged Britain's new leader to create a working relationship with his partners on the continent.

Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said Mr Johnson's comments in the Commons on Thursday setting out his Brexit plans were "very unhelpful".

Merkel's office said Johnson had accepted an invitation from the 65-year-old German Chancellor for "an early visit" to Berlin.

France on Friday reiterated the EU's rejection of an aggressive push by Boris Johnson to rewrite the Brexit agreement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Johnson in a phone call on Thursday that EU leaders have given Brussels no mandate to renegotiate.

But the backstop was not negotiable, Varadkar said: "A Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop is the same as no-deal".

Johnson insists he wants to renegotiate a divorce deal which was drafted by his predecessor Theresa May over the last two years, only to see it rejected by British MPs three times in parliament.

If it did not, he warned, he would withdraw Britain from the European Union without a deal, and spoke of plans to "turbo-charge" preparations to do so on the latest Brexit deadline of October 31.

Many Brexit supporters dislike the backstop - which would require Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom as a whole to stay in the EU's customs union - as it would make it hard for Britain to negotiate free trade deals with other countries.

Other reports by iNewsToday