What Happened: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin on Sept. 9 to discuss Brexit and the Irish backstop mechanism, although both leaders failed to reach an agreement, The Guardian reported. Specifically, Varadkar said there would be "no such thing as a clean-break Brexit" and that London had not yet presented a realistic alternative to the Irish backstop.
Why It Matters: An alternative to the Irish backstop, which is necessary to prevent the possible reemergence of sectarian unrest on the island, would undoubtedly increase the chances of an orderly Brexit in late October, but ongoing disagreements between both sides indicate that a potential deal remains elusive.
Background: The Irish backstop mechanism would prevent a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland by keeping the United Kingdom in a customs arrangement with the European Union until Brussels and London can find a better solution to keep the Irish border open.
- Visualizing Brexit: A Flowchart (Sept. 5, 2019)
- U.K.: Johnson Corners Brexit Foes and the EU Alike (Aug. 28, 2019)
- Can the Opposition Unite to Stop a Hard Brexit? (Aug. 15, 2019)