January 21, 2019 / 1:46 PM / 4 months ago

Ireland rejects time-limited backstop idea in Brexit deal

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaks at a 'Global Ireland' news conference in Dublin, Ireland January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney rejected on Monday the idea that a backstop arrangement to avoid a physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Britain leaves the EU could be limited in time.

Such a suggestion came from Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, who said that to unblock the current Brexit deadlock, Ireland could propose to limit the backstop arrangement to for instance five years.

“He mentioned that issue in Dublin in December when he visited,” Coveney told reporters in Brussels on entering a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

“I made it very clear that putting a time limit on an insurance mechanism, which is what the backstop is, effectively mean that it’s not a backstop at all. I don’t think that reflects EU thinking in relation to the withdrawal agreement,” he said.

Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop and Jan Strupczewski

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