Brussels piles pressure on UK to come up with alternative to backstop

Foreign Ministers, including the UK’s Dominic Raab, met in Helsinki. Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, said that “ at the moment, nothing credible has come from the UK government in terms of alternatives to the backstop.” 

He said any proposed alternative would be looked at in both Dublin and  Brussels, “but it has got to be credible.”

His German counterpart, Heiko Maas, issued a further warning to Boris Johnson’s government. “I have once again made it clear that it is now necessary for time reasons to put the [proposals] on the table as soon as possible,” he said.

Their position was backed up by an EU Spokesperson: “Our position remains that we will need first to see proposals, concrete proposals, from the UK government that are compatible with the withdrawal agreement before we can take these discussions further.”

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted: “We are putting forward alternatives.”