British prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday welcomed a potential “blistering timetable of 30 days” to find an agreement with the EU on the terms of Brexit.

He was responding to a suggestion by German chancellor Angela Merkel that a short timeframe for negotiations on a Brexit deal was possible.

During a press briefing in Berlin, Merkel said a solution could be found in establishing “absolute clarity” on the EU-UK future relationship.

He also tried to set a relaxed tone in the joint news conference, recounting the many spheres in which Germany and the UK have worked together successfully — from security to biodiversity — emphasising that all that will be part of the agenda of his visit.

“We have to maintain the integrity of the single market,” Merkel said that a short timeframe for negotiations on a Brexit deal was possible.

The differences between the two leaders mainly revolve around the safeguard — or “backstop” — for Ireland, which would obligate the United Kingdom to remain a part of the EU Customs Union although it would not define the future relations with the European Union after Britain’s exit from the bloc.

During a joint press briefing in Berlin, Merkel said that a solution could be found in establishing “absolute clarity” on the EU-UK future relationship.

“If one is able to solve this conundrum – we said in the next two years but perhaps in the next 30 days – then we are one step further in the right direction,” she said.

The Irish government said that maintaining the backstop is a crucial element of any British exit from the EU.

He said it was “obvious” his first foreign visit as prime minister should be to Berlin, where he reiterated his demand for the removal of the backstop – the mechanism to ensure there is no hard border in Ireland after Brexit.

Johnson assured Merkel and the public that London will respect the rights of European citizens living in the UK.

He also tried to set a relaxed tone in the joint news conference, recounting the many spheres in which Germany and the UK have worked together successfully — from security to biodiversity — emphasising that all that will be part of the agenda of his visit.

“We have to maintain the integrity of the single market,” Merkel said.