LONDON (Reuters) – Poland’s foreign minister said on Monday he is proposing limiting the Irish backstop to five years in order to unblock the Brexit deadlock, a reporter for the BBC in Brussels said.
The Irish backstop – an insurance policy to avoid the return of a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland – is the most contentious element of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal which was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers last week.
“I’ve just discussed that idea with my (Irish) counterpart Simon Coveney and also with (British foreign minister) Jeremy Hunt today, I think it would be one of the solutions so that’s (an) idea to be discussed, I think within the European Union,” Jacek Czaputowicz told the BBC, according to reporter Adam Fleming.
“I don’t know if it’s feasible – if Ireland is ready to put forward such a proposal, but I have an impression that it might unblock the negotiations.”
Czaputowicz also told the Rzeczpospolita daily in Poland that a five-year limit on the backstop could “resolve the (Brexit) issue” and that he had discussed with his British and Irish counterparts in December.
“We need bold action,” he was quoted as saying. “If Ireland was to ask the EU to change the deal with the Brits the backstop provisions so that they would only apply for, say, five years, the issue would be resolved”.
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Toby Chopra