August 21, 2019 / 10:12 AM / a month ago

German president - Reopening Brexit talks on backstop unlikely

FILE PHOTO: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attends the annual Kultaranta Talks, a debate session on foreign and security policy, at the Presidential Summer Residence Kultaranta in Naantali, Finland June 16, 2019. Lehtikuva/Roni Rekomaa via REUTERS/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s president said on Wednesday it was unlikely that negotiations over the so-called Irish backstop, a key point of discord between London and the European Union on Britain’s exit from the bloc, would be reopened.

Speaking hours ahead of a meeting in Berlin between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Angela Merkel, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that all possible alternatives for the backstop had already been discussed.

Johnson is set to tell Merkel in a meeting on Wednesday that unless she agrees to change the Brexit deal, Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 without a deal.

Steinmeier added that a disorderly Brexit would not only be to Britain’s detriment, but would hit the EU as a whole, adding that its consequences would be more dramatic than they were currently being described.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Writing by Tassilo Hummel, Editing by Michelle Martin

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