Brexit: should the EU stick to the backstop?
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a letter to again try to convince the EU to soften its stance on the Irish backstop. In the letter he offered to discuss "alternative agreements" to prevent border controls in Ireland. The President of the European Council Donald Tusk turned down the offer on Twitter. The media speculate on whether the EU will be able to stand firm.
The Tories are fighting for survival
For Svenska Dagbladet Boris Johnson's letter to the EU Commission was nothing but party politics as its contents can hardly be regarded as a basis for serious discussion:
“If the Tories are unable to deliver Brexit they will be crushed by the Brexit Party in the next elections. So a hard Brexit is the only alternative for Johnson's party. It's all about survival for the Tories now, and the least undesirable outcome would be for them to crush the Brexit Party themselves by delivering Brexit. Regardless of the consequences. This is the current situation. How long the Tories would survive the consequences of Brexit is the next question. But that is an entirely different matter for now.”
A compromise is still possible
The EU will soften its stubborn stance in the next weeks, The Daily Telegraph belives:
“One would expect the EU to at least have some kind of 'plan B' ...; likely an offer to make the backstop time-limited, for, say, 20 years. This offer would then of course need to be communicated by the Irish government, so it doesn't appear as if the other EU members had pressured one of the smaller member-states. Twenty years would of course be unacceptable to the UK, but we should not forget that when the EU wants a finger, it asks for an arm. Even those more wary about making concessions to Boris Johnson in the EU could support such a plan B - it would at least shift the blame away from the EU for any ensuing 'no deal' disruption.”
Johnson casting himself as defender of the people
The British prime minister has no interest in resolving the conflict with Brussels, La Libre Belgique suspects:
“Boris Johnson has launched himself into a disingenuous poker game which is solely aimed at his electorate. He knows that the EU will never back-pedal. He knows that his parliamentary majority rests on a single MP and that parliament, in which a number of MPs from both Labour and Tory benches are demanding new elections, is feeling more and more uncomfortable at the prospect of No Deal, which would be (too) expensive. Johnson is therefore already preparing for an election. He is fighting an election campaign dressed up as the defender of his people against the Eurocratic establishment.”