The European Commission made it clear that a Brexit without "the Irish backstop" is unacceptable.
President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson the Brexit agreement previously reached is "the best and only possible," a clarification which occurred because the new PM asked to renegotiate the document.
"President Juncker heard what PM Johnson had to say and reiterated the European Union position that the withdrawal agreement is the best and only possible," said community sources about the content of the telephone conversation that both politicians held at around 5:45 p.m local time.
Juncker also told Johnson that the EC is willing to add more content to the political statement which accompanies the Brexit agreement and establishes the general lines on the future relationship between London and Brussels.
Similarly, the EU politician was willing to analyze any idea raised by Johnson to clarify the British position, provided it is compatible with the Brexit agreement.
On several occasions, Johnson has promised to negotiate "a new and better" agreement with the European Union in order to facilitate the exit of the United Kingdom from that economic bloc. Basically, he wants to reach an agreement that does not include the so-called "Irish backstop."
At the protocol negotiated by the former PM Theresa May, it is said that a “hard” or physical border cannot be set in place between the Republic of Ireland, which will stay as a member of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is a British province.
In his inaugural speech on July 24, however, Johnson reaffirmed that it should be clearly understood that such backstop must be abolished to move forward with a Brexit agreement.
The categorical opposition to the Irish backstop has a reason: since the Tories do not have a majority, they need the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a Northern Ireland organization which favors a British identity and rejects the backstop.
"Our mission is to complete Brexit on October 31 with the purpose of uniting and re-energizing our great United Kingdom, to make this country the best place on Earth," Johnson told parliamentarians.
If the Irish backstop remains, the British Northern Ireland province will remain aligned with certain rules of the EU single market and customs union.