Polish FM proposes five-year backstop limit to break Brexit impasse

Poland’s foreign minister has suggested that the current impasse over the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could be solved if the so-called Irish backstop were time-limited to five years.

The minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, said that Dublin had the most to lose from a no deal Brexit scenario and that the UK and Ireland were playing a “game of chicken” over the border that would end with a “frontal collision” unless a compromise was made.

“If Ireland turned to the EU about changing the agreement with Britain with regard to the provisions on the backstop so that it would only apply temporarily — let’s say five years — the matter would be resolved,” Mr Czaputowicz told the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita.

“It would obviously be less favorable for Ireland than an unlimited backstop, but much more favorable than a no-deal Brexit, which is inevitably approaching,” he added.

Mr Czaputowicz added that he had raised the suggestion in December with his UK and Irish counterparts, Jeremy Hunt and Simon Coveney.

It remains to be seen if the rest of the European Union will agree with the Polish minister. Until now, EU27 leaders have stood steadfastly behind the European Commission’s and Dublin’s insistence that the Northern Ireland backstop written into the Withdrawal Agreement must apply indefinitely if no other solution can be found to prevent the need for a hard border om the island of Ireland.

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