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Friday, January 15, 2021

Macron meets Johnson, while Pound recovers slightly on backstop hopes

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Macron meets Johnson, while Pound recovers slightly on backstop hopes
Macron meets Johnson, while Pound recovers slightly on backstop hopes

French President Emmanuel Macron warns Prime Minister Boris Johnson there isn't enough time to negotiate a whole new Brexit deal, while Angela Merkel's comments that she has not given Britain 30 days to find a solution to the so-called Irish backstop sent the Pound up Thursday afternoon.

Francis Maguire reports.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I want to make it absolutely clear to you Emmanuel, to the French people, that of course, I want a deal.

And I think we can get a deal." Boris Johnson speaks in Paris Thursday (August 22) as he meets Emmanuel Macron.

But the French President warned there isn't enough time to negotiate a brand new Withdrawal Agreement - and said the EU was ready for a disorderly Brexit if it came to it, though they preferred a deal.

The main point of disagreement is the so-called 'Irish backstop' agreed between the EU and Johnson's predecessor Theresa May.

It requires Britain to obey some EU rules if no other way can be found to keep the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland invisible.

Britain wants it dropped, while the EU says it won't reopen negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement.

That, a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel challenged Britain to come up with alternatives to the backstop.

Promoting a sense of urgency Macron also wants to see.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "We need visibility in 30 days.

And so, to respond to the backstop question - I think this corresponds to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's goal -- nobody is going to wait until Oct.

31 without trying to find a good solution." The British pound jumped more than half a cent Thursday afternoon after Merkel said she had not set Johnson a 30-day deadline to propose a solution to the border issue - and that an answer could be found by October 31st.

Britain's government bond yield curve also briefly regained its normal upward slope on Merkel's comments - a week after they inverted for the first time since 2008.

Johnson met Merkel and Macron ahead of his global debut at the G7 summit, which begins this Saturday (August 24) in Biarritz, France.