The Irish backstop is not a “trick” to keep the UK in the EU indefinitely, the German finance minister said today as he warned the lack of clarity over Brexit made him "nervous."
Speaking at a Bloomberg event in London, Olaf Scholz made it clear the EU supported Ireland over the issue and called for the deadlock to be broken.
Angel Merkel’s finance minister said that the lack of a solution in sight with just weeks to go before 29 March made him “nervous.”
Scholz said the UK had to stop thinking it was being tricked or that the EU was trying to “cheat” the country with the agreed Brexit deal.
Earlier this week Merkel urged the UK to set out exactly how it wants to avoid a hard border with Ireland in the absence of a trade deal as she called for “creative” conversations to break the impasse.
Scholz maintained that the EU supported Ireland over the issue and that the current agreement was “fair.”
He said: “The most difficult political question is the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“If there is no solution, it’s not good looking to the future – it’s a question of peace if we are successful or not.”
Scholz also said it would be easier for the financial services sector to cope with a no-deal Brexit than producers and traders as there would be no problems around physical goods crossing borders.
Preparations for a hard Brexit to ensure there was no "sharp edge" for financial services were also advanced, Scholz added.
He said London would remain an important financial centre but that businesses would continue to move from the City into Europe, and particular to Germany.
The German government was helping businesses with their relocation, he said.