Mr. Michel stressed the importance of the backstop, the guarantee included in the withdrawal agreement to avoid a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Some British MPs oppose the backdrop, fearing that Britain would remain tied to the EU if this safety net is activated.
“The backdrop is not a detail, both for guaranteeing peace in Ireland and for the integrity of the domestic market, its capacity for economic development, employment and investment,” the head of Belgium’s outgoing government said.
“A good deal is on the table, but the British Parliament is trying to take us toward a bad deal,” he told the journalists present. “The British Parliament’s demands on the backdrop would weaken the economic development of Europe, a risk for our businesses and our jobs.”
“We need to be firm, clear, even if there is always room for flexibility” to take certain British demands into account, he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Michel refused to say whether he would be on the Reformist Movement (MR)’s list of candidates for election to the European Parliament, noting that discussions were still ongoing within his party.