The new European Parliament chief ruled out any Brexit deal without an Irish backstop but said the EU was willing to revive a proposal that would keep only Northern Ireland in the bloc’s orbit to maintain a seamless border on the island of Ireland.
The European Parliament must endorse any Brexit deal agreed between the EU and Britain for it to take effect. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his country will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal.
The backstop, the key obstacle to a deal, aims to ensure no customs or regulatory controls are imposed on the border between the British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
Johnson opposes the backstop, fearing it will trap Britain in a permanent customs union with the EU or else split Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain.