Guardian: No progress on talks without border ‘backstop’

The EU27 will not agree to move on to negotiate a transition or a trade deal unless the UK signs up to an Irish border solution on the lines of the ‘backstop’ option agreed in December, the Guardian reports.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May  “needs to soften her stance on the ‘backstop’ solution for avoiding a hard border if the EU is to agree on terms for the transition period and start discussing trade at a European council summit next week,” it wrote.

If the UK misses that summit, leaders will not get together until late June. Without agreement next week, “then we are heading closer to the UK crashing out”, the Guardian quoted one EU diplomat as saying.

The hardening EU position on the ‘backstop’ was reinforced by a report today from the Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, which said it was “unable to identify any border solution currently in operation across the globe that would enable physical infrastructure to be avoided when rules and tariffs diverge.”