Emmanuel Macron tells Boris Johnson backstop is ‘indispensable’ – live
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Boris Johnson’s meeting with the French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris
And this what some journalists and commentators are saying about the Q&A.
From AFP’s Adam Plowright
Macron backs another month of Brexit talks about the Irish border, knowing well that no solution will be found. Face-saving. Same approach taken by Merkel. All about trying to avoid blame for ‘no deal’ if it comes to pass
Macron meets Johnson in Paris: Macron calls the backstop “not just legal quibbling” but “genuine, indispensable guarantees”. Not a great start.
But will you cut Boris some slack to come up with an alternative, like Merkel did? Macron reluctantly agrees: “We need visibility in 30 days. Nobody will wait to October 31 to find the right solution”.
And the blame game continues. Macron’s final point was to stick any No Deal on Boris. If no new solution is possible, PM will have to make “a political decision”. Adds: “It will not be our decision”.
Macron plays along with Johnson’s 30 day Brexit deadline, for diplomatic reasons, but then adds there is very little chance of renegotiating the withdrawal agreement. Msg is clear from France: we want to be seen to have given you one last chance but….
Shorter Macron-Bojo presser: nothing has moved, but let’s keep talking anyway. #Brexit
7. My take on Macron:
– Repeats EU stance: open to further talks but UK must put fwd workable alternatives that solve border & protect SM
– Says time is short: cautions that WA is unlikely to fundamentally change
– Reminds that EU Commission who negotiates, not EU leaders. END.
Here we go again; just as when Boris Johnson met Angela Merkel in Berlin last night, his opening public exchanges with Emmanuel Macron were warm – and considerably friendlier than some of their comments about each other in the past (see 9.25am) – but there was nothing in what Macron said to suggest that a solution to the backstop quandary is any closer than it has been for months. Macron suggested that he was unhappy about being cast as the “hard man” in the process. But he was also very clear that a mechanism was needed to protect the Northern Ireland peace process and the integrity of the single market, and he said any version of the withdrawal agreement drawn up by Johnson within the next 30 days that might be acceptable to the EU would be much the same as the one already on the table. There are polite ways of saying no, and harsh ways of saying no, and Merkel and Macron (in their public remarks, at least) have been charm personified. But four weeks ago Johnson was telling Merkel and Macron that the backstop would have go for a Brexit deal to be possible. This week, they are telling him, that on the fundamentals of what the backstop is all about, they are not willing to budge. For obvious reasons, Johnson is keen to put a positive gloss on all of this, telling journalists at the Q&A that he came away from Berlin “powerfully encouraged”. But, as students of Johnson’s journalistic career know all too well, his analysis of developments in the EU has never been noted for its accuracy …