Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

EU’s Tusk says Brexiteers deserve ‘a special place in hell’

Seeking assurances Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be in Brussels Seeking assurances Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be in Brussels
Patty Aguilar | 06 February, 2019, 19:43

Rebuffing May's bid to renegotiate just a day before she is due in Brussels, Tusk said he had abandoned the hope he has often expressed that Britain's exit might be stopped and said his priority was now to avert a "fiasco" when it leaves.

"Ireland will not be the collateral damage of the Tory Brexit", she added.

The European Council President has delivered a stinging attack on those who promoted Brexit with no plan to carry it out, saying there would be a "special place in hell" for them.

But the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up May's government says it could endanger the province's place in the United Kingdom, while Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party worry it locks the country into European Union rules.

After his meeting with the Irish prime minister, Mr Tusk also agreed that the EU27 would make no further offers to Britain.

Tusk, who will host British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, was speaking after talks with Ireland's prime minister on how to salvage a Brexit deal before Britain drops out of the bloc in 50 days, risking the peace in Northern Ireland.

He told reporters that both Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn had a "pro-Brexit stance".

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"Leo Varadkar and Donald Tusk may find Mr Tusk's uncouth words amusing, but they are no laughing matter", he said. "We don't see a time limit as being the answer, because time limit can be extended", Robin Swann said after the meeting.

Juncker shot down that idea, and said: "We cannot accept the idea that has been circulated around that the withdrawal agreement could be reopened and as the backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement we cannot reopen the discussion on the backstop".

The eight week delay is a last-ditch attempt to solve the Brexit issue ahead of the European elections.

The border area was a flashpoint on the island of Ireland during decades of conflict, and the free flow of people and goods across the frontier underpins the peace agreement of 1998.

During a speech Tuesday in Belfast, May restated her "unshakeable" commitment to avoiding a hard border and said she was seeking changes to the backstop rather than its removal from the withdrawal agreement. "Give us a believable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom will leave the European Union as a trusted friend". He said Britain's recent political instability was yet another proof of why the backstop was needed.

"We will never abandon Ireland".

"I hope tomorrow we will hear from Prime Minister May a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse in which the process of the orderly withdrawal has found itself following the latest votes in the House of Commons".

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