Macron Tells Johnson: The Backstop Plan Is "Indispensable"

22 August 2019, 16:42 | Updated: 22 August 2019, 16:51

The leaders have been speaking in Paris today
The leaders have been speaking in Paris today. Picture: PA

France's President insists re-negotiating the Brexit withdrawal agreement is "not an option".

Emmanuel Macron has said that the Uk's decision to leave the EU "must be respected", but that the Irish backstop is essential for preserving political stability and the single market, and cannot be removed from the deal.

Boris Johnson stated, "with energy and creativity we can find a way forward."

Mr Macron said he feels "very confident" that both sides would fine a solution within the 30 day timetable suggested by Angela Merkel.

But he said that this will only be the case "if there is a good will on both sides."

The French President said that it would not be possible to find a withdrawal agreement that is "very different from the existing one" within 30 days, and an answer could instead be reached "without reshuffling".

Yesterday, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the Prime Minister 30 days to propose an alternative to the Irish back-stop.

- What is the Irish backstop and how will Brexit affect the border?

Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, Ms Merkel said: "If one is able to solve this conundrum, if one finds this solution, we said we would probably find it in the next two years to come but we can also maybe find it in the next 30 days to come.

"Then we are one step further in the right direction and we have to obviously put our all into this."

Mr Johnson said he was "more than happy" with the timetable, responding: "I must say I am very glad listening to you tonight Angela to hear that at least the conversations that matter can now properly begin.

"You have set a very blistering timetable of 30 days - if I understood you correctly, I am more than happy with that."