Sunday, 21 July, 2019

European Union chief Brexit negotiator confirms to meet with Irish PM in Dublin

EU's Chief Barnier 'happy' to offer UK a customs... Brexit: “extremely unlikely” extension will face veto
Russell Knight | 09 April, 2019, 01:29

The chief EU Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his team will travel to Dublin today for talks with the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, and the Minister for Finance at Government Buildings.

Mr Barnier expressed confidence a solution would be found on how to protect the Good Friday Agreement all-Ireland structures as well as the integrity of the single market.

"The backstop is now the only solution we have found to maintain the status quo on the island of Ireland", he said.

Their talks are understood to be based around the possibility of the United Kingdom entering a customs union with the EU, something Mr Barnier said he would be open to.

"If the United Kingdom were to leave without a deal, let me be very clear, we would not discuss anything with the United Kingdom until there is an agreement for Ireland, Northern Ireland as well as for citizen's rights and the financial settlement", he said.

May will on Tuesday travel to Berlin and Paris to hold talks ahead of an European Union summit on Wednesday where it will be decided if the Brexit negotating period should once again be delayed.

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It's understood the Taoiseach will want to emphasise the extent of Ireland's preparedness for a no-deal Brexit in his meeting with Mr Barnier.

Speaking in Dublin, Michel Barnier said he hoped the cross-party talks taking place in London would produce a "positive outcome" with the prospect of a no deal Brexit now just days away.

Mrs May has been locked in talks with Labour to try and achieve a cross-party deal to pass her Withdrawal Agreement in Parliament.

Last week, Mr Varadkar held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that he has also spoken to May, warning on Twitter that a "positive decision" from the European Union hinged on assurances of "sincere cooperation" from the United Kingdom, though Varadkar had told RTE over the weekend that any member of the EU27 that vetoed a Brexit extension "wouldn't be forgiven for it".

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