Thursday 25 April 2019

Taoiseach meets Tusk in Dublin ahead of EU Council summit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) walks with European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin, for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) walks with European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin, for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) walks with European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin, for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar shakes hands with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar shakes hands with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) greets European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) greets European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar is meeting with EU Council President Donald Tusk in Dublin today.

Mr Tusk is in Government Buildings for the meeting ahead of this week’s EU Council summit later this week.

Yesterday he met with Angela Merkel in Germany and Emmanuel Macron in France.

He did not take questions from the waiting media and is not expected to make a statement after the meeting.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) walks with European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin, for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) walks with European Council President Donald Tusk at Government Buildings in Dublin, for talks ahead of the European Council summit later in the week. Niall Carson/PA Wire

However, a Government spokesperson said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and EU Council President Donald Tusk agreed that proposals must emerge from London ahead of Thursday's summit of EU leaders.

Theresa May is expected to write to the EU today or tomorrow to outline her request.

Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

A government spokesperson said: "President Tusk expressed the strong and ongoing solidarity with Ireland of the European Council and European leaders.

"They agreed that we must now see what proposals emerge from London in advance of the European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

"Meanwhile, preparations continue in Ireland and across the European Union for a no deal scenario, which would have serious consequences for all concerned."

Tanáiste Simon Coveney meanwhile is meeting in Brussels with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and the EU parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt.

Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar shakes hands with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar shakes hands with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Meanwhile in the UK prime minister Theresa May is considering a route out of the current parliamentary crisis in the UK following a surprise ruling from speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow who ruled that she cannot bring her divorce deal back for a vote if it is not substantially changed.

It is expected that she will request an extension from EU leaders this week and Mr Tusk will be discussing the potential developments and the bloc’s response with the Taoiseach today.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said: "I will fight until the last minute of the time to March 29 for an orderly exit. We haven't got a lot of time for that."

However, in France there was a blunter assessment of the current state of affairs.

"Grant an extension - what for? Time is not a solution, it's a method," said EU Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau. "If there is an objective and a strategy, it has to come from London."

As the UK government grapples with how to meet the test set out by Mr Bercow the country’s Brexit minister Steve Barclay, who last week said Britain should not fear a no-deal exit, said a change in context might be sufficient to meet Bercow's test.

"The speaker himself has pointed to possible solutions," Barclay said. "You can have the same motion but where the circumstances have changed."

"The speaker himself has said that, where the will of the House is for a certain course of action, then it is important that the will of the House is respected."

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