German Chancellor Angela Merkel told UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Irish Brexit backstop wouldn’t be needed if a better solution could be found to replace it after talks in Berlin on Wednesday. The two leaders held a joint news conference shortly after Johnson was received with military honours.

“We cannot accept the current withdrawal agreement arrangements that either divide the UK or lock us into the regulatory trading arrangements of the EU, the legal order of the EU without the UK having any saying on those matters. So we do need that backstop removed but if we can do that then I am absolutely certain that we can move forward together,” said Boris Johnson.

The German chancellor emphasized that it is the UK’s responsibility to find a solution to the problem. “Once we see that could possibly be arranged and solved, this backstop, as a sort of a placeholder, is no more needed. Then we know what the future relationship between the European Union and Great Britain will be like and especially Northern Ireland, and what the membership of the Republic of Ireland will look like,” said Merkel.

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