FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova (not seen) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss Brexit with Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he has invited to visit in the next few weeks, an official from Macron’s Elysee office said on Friday.
The two leaders spoke on Thursday, and Macron’s talks with Johnson would be in regard to the demands of the European Union about Brexit, the official added.
On entering Downing Street on Wednesday, Johnson set up a showdown with the EU by vowing to negotiate a new deal and threatening that, if the bloc refused, he would take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 without a deal.
One of the main areas of contention between Britain and the EU over the terms of Brexit has been the Irish backstop.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said this week there would be no withdrawal agreement or subsequent trade pact with Britain if it did not accept the backstop.
The backstop is an insurance policy to provisionally keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, pending a better solution, to prevent the return of a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also told Johnson this week that a divorce deal agreed by predecessor Theresa May last November was the best and only deal with the European Union.
Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Additional reporting by Arthur Connan; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Clarence Fernandez