Wednesday 17 January 2018

EU says Ireland can decide if Brexit talks move on

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Donald President of the European Council, pictured before their meeting at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Donald President of the European Council, pictured before their meeting at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

IRELAND’S bid to get solid answers from the UK on their future plans for the border have received a major boost from EU Council President Donald Tusk.

The president told a press conference in Dublin this evening that the EU’s future “lies in Dublin”.

“If the UK offer is unacceptable for Ireland it will also be unacceptable for the EU,” he said.

Mr Tusk was speaking following a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin.

He said British Prime Minister Theresa May’s has just days to offer up proposals for how to avoid a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

His statement is likely to set off alarms bells in London who want the so-called ‘Irish question’ postponed until later in the Brexit negotiations.

Mr Tusk said he will be consulting with the Taoiseach before allowing the talks to progress any further.

“The EU is fully behind you. There should be no hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit,” he said, adding: “The Irish request is the EU’s request.”

In a statement, Mr Varadkar thanked the Council President and other EU leaders for their “solidarity”.

Mr Varadkar said: “We appreciate the solidarity from all of our EU partners: they have taken Ireland’s unique concerns to heart – these are seen very much as EU concerns.

“It is an important and impressive display of EU unity and solidarity – the European Union is a family and we stick together.

“In the Guidelines that were agreed in April, those unique concerns – maintaining the Common Travel Area; protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the Peace Process; and avoiding a hard border - were acknowledged as priority issues for the withdrawal negotiations, along with the UK financial commitment and EU citizens’ rights.

“We agreed then that sufficient progress would be required on all of these three issues before we could move onto the second phase of the negotiations in which we will consider the framework of the future relationship between the EU and the UK.”

Mr Varadkar said that if the UK continues to rule out the possibility of them remaining in the Customs Union and the single Market then they “must offer credible, concrete and workable solutions that guarantee there will be no hard border, whatever the outcome in the negotiations.”

Online Editors

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