Brexit: Merkel offers compromise, Macron attempts to rattle the sabre

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has challenged Britain to come up with alternatives to the Irish border backstop within 30 days, but French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned there would be no renegotiation of the Brexit deal, Reuters reports.

More than three years after the British people voted to quit the EU, it is still unclear on what terms - or indeed whether - the bloc’s second largest economy will leave the club it joined in 1973. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a Brexiteer who won the premiership a month ago, is betting that the threat of “no-deal” Brexit turmoil will convince Merkel and Macron that the EU should do a last-minute deal to suit his demands. 

Speaking beside Merkel at the German Chancellery, Johnson repeatedly said that the Irish border backstop - which is a protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement struck by his predecessor Theresa May - needed to be removed in full. 

“It was said we will probably find a solution in two years. But we could also find one in the next 30 days, why not?” Merkel, Europe’s most powerful leader, said. 

Johnson confirmed that she had given him 30 days to come up with alternatives and said there was ample scope for a deal. The two leaders had a constructive dinner of tuna, venison and chocolate tart, a British source said. 

But just an hour after Merkel spoke, Macron said the demands made by Johnson for a renegotiation of the divorce deal, including the removal of the Irish backstop, were not workable as they currently stood. Johnson is due to meet Macron in Paris on Thursday. 

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