'Backstop' border deal for Irish border wins German endorsement
Germany's new foreign minister has backed the Republic's position on the 'backstop' deal to preserve Ireland's open border.
Heiko Maas made the pledge as he met Tanaiste Simon Coveney in Dublin. The minister said Germans understood the emotional sensitivities around the border, given his country's own experience of division.
Mr Coveney reiterated his view that the "backstop" agreement between the UK and the EU in December, which would see Northern Ireland align with much of the EU's regulatory framework, was only a "fall-back" position and that the preferred option was for both parties to agree a wide-ranging post-Brexit trading agreement.
But he warned: "There will be no withdrawal treaty if there is no a backstop on Irish border in that treaty."
Mr Maas added: "We don't want to see anything close to a hard border, it's not going to be a beneficial development for anyone, so he (Mr Coveney) enjoys our full support.
"We believe that to be a question with regard to which Great Britain has to take a decision."