The European Council President says a letter he received from Boris Johnson offers no "realistic alternatives" to the backstop.
Donald Tusk today again rejected the British Prime Minister's demands for major changes to the 'insurance policy' to avoid a hard border in Ireland after Brexit.
The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found. Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) August 20, 2019
The response has been welcomed by the Irish Government, with Tánaiste Simon Coveney saying: "This has been the clear and consistent EU position, it remains so."
It comes after Mr Johnson wrote to the European Council again insisting the Irish backstop has to be dropped in any Brexit deal.
In his letter yesterday, the British prime minister said he's willing to explore "creative solutions" as an alternative.
I have written to @eucopresident about key aspects of the UK’s approach to Brexit, problems with the “backstop” & the Government’s commitment to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement whether there is a deal with the EU or not.https://t.co/7JYdIsZdjB pic.twitter.com/Sc6WjDPdkw
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 19, 2019
However, Natasha Bertaud - spokesperson for the EU Commission - said the letter doesn't provide a legal operational solution to prevent a hard border on Ireland.
She argued: "It does not set out what any alternative arrangements could be.
"In fact, it recognises that there is no guarantee that such arrangements will be in place by the end of the transition period."
Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has reiterated his pledge that the UK will leave the EU on October 31st - with or without a deal.