July 19, 2019 / 10:28 AM / a month ago

Merkel sees scope in political declaration for Irish backstop to be overwritten

German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after the annual summer news conference in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that if Brexit negotiations found a solution on the Irish border in the declaration on future ties between Britain and the European Union, the so-called backstop would effectively be overwritten.

The backstop, which is contested by leading British politicians who want it changed or scrapped, requires Britain to adopt some EU rules unless a future arrangement is found to keep open the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“The Withdrawal Agreement is the Withdrawal Agreement,” Merkel told a news conference.

“But the moment that a solution for the management of the border is found in (the declaration on) the future relationship - so for the European Union’s future ties to Britain - which basically squares the circle - on the one hand I have no physcial border but on the other hand the EU Single Market ends - that satisifies both questions, then the backstop will be overwritten so-to-speak.”

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Thomas Seythal; Editing by Paul Carrel

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