Boris Johnson has been rebuffed by Brussels after he demanded there be major changes to a new Brexit deal and the Irish backstop to be scrapped.
Johnson wrote to Tusk on Monday evening and called the Northern Irish backstop “anti-democratic” and said he wants to leave the EU with a deal.
He wrote that he will not support a withdrawal agreement that “locks the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind us into a customs union and which applies large areas of single market legislation in Northern Ireland.”
Johnson also warned that it risks “weakening the delicate balance” of the Good Friday agreement, as parties like the DUP are not happy with it.
However, the European Council president Donald Tusk defended the measure. He said, “The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found.
“Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.”
The European Commission said that Johnson’s letter does not hold any “legally operational solution” to stop a hard border.
A spokeswoman said of the letter that, “it does not set out what any alternative arrangements could be” and “recognises that there is no guarantee such arrangements would be in place by the end of the transitional period”.