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Boris Johnson set to meet Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron as Brexit showdown looms

3 min read

Boris Johnson will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz. 

The Prime Minsiter is set to go to Paris and Berlin respectively to meet both leaders, with the visit being his first time meeting either leader since entering Number 10.

Mr Johnson is likely to repeat his demand the EU scrap the Irish backstop from the current Brexit withdrawal agreement, with leaked German government documents anticipating the Prime Minister will use the summit to create a “big moment” in order to secure a breakthrough. 

But the documents, which were leaked to the German Handelsblatt newspaper, say that even if the backstop were to be removed, there would be no guarantee that British MPs would approve the Withdrawal Agreement.

They also admit it is “currently unforeseeable that Prime Minister Johnson will change his tough negotiating position”. 

"In view of this, it is important from the EU perspective to stick to the previous line," the documents say.

The leaked document also indicates that the EU’s no-deal preparations are largely complete, with the German government already having passed fifty laws and measures to mitigate a disorderly Brexit.

The Finance Ministry lists transitional agreements in tax and finance between the UK and Germany in case of a no-deal Brexit, including agreements such as that between the German financial regulator Bafin and its British counterpart FCA on cross-border financial services.

The document claims the European Commission is not planning any further emergency measures in advance of a potential no-deal exit. 

Tory MP Alberto Costa has meanhile warned Mr Johnson that he is risking a “Windrush writ large" for European citizens if a no-deal exit comes to fruition.

The backbencher has written to Home Office minister Brandon Lewis, arguing that the Governemnt's current settled status scheme is inadequate. 

Warning Mr Johnson against pursuing a no-deal Brexit, he repeated the Prime Minister’s earlier comments about a no-deal exit being unlikely. 

“The best option is to bring back Theresa May’s deal because there are now more Labour MPs willing to vote for it," Mr Costa said.

"That is the only way out of this conundrum...I take the prime minister’s word that it is a million-to-one chance that we will leave with no deal.

"So I signed [Phillip Hammond’s anti-no deal] letter as a polite reminder. The numbers in the House of Commons against no deal do not look good for Boris. The best way out is to vote for a deal.”

European diplomats told BuzzFeed News that Mr Johnson's EU trips would be announced next week.

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