The head of the European Council on Tuesday rebuffed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s demand for changes in the Brexit deal, and specifically changes on the contentious backstop issue.
"The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found,” said the council’s Donald Tusk on Twitter.
"Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it."
Tusk’s remarks came a day after Johnson sent him a letter saying the Irish border backstop must be scrapped since it is "anti-democratic" and it would undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland.
The backstop is a safety measure that ensures open borders between Northern Ireland -- which is part of the U.K. -- and the Republic of Ireland if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal.
The EU has repeatedly stated that the withdrawal agreement signed by Johnson’s predecessor would not be re-opened for negotiation and the Irish backstop is an insurance policy that Brussels cannot get rid of.
Johnson, a fierce advocate of Britain going it alone, has claimed that a no-deal Brexit would be the EU’s fault.
The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31.
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